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Full text of "A history of Atlanta, 1853-1953 : prepared by citizens of Atlanta as a part of the observance of the centennial, June 11, 12 and 13, 1953"

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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 


Prepared by Citizens of Atlanta 

As a Part of the Observance of the 

Centennial, June 11, 12 and 13, 1953 



Atlanta, Illinois 

Published By 

The Stewart - Finks Publishing- Co. 

Atlanta, Illinois 


The coming of the Chicago & Alton railroad through Central Illinois 
gave impetus to the founding of many cities and villages along its right of 
way. With visions of rapid growth and resulting financial profits to the 
promoters, lands were acquired, surveyed and divided into lots and blocks. 
Such was the beginning of Atlanta. 


When Atlanta was first laid out, there existed a short distance to the 
southeast a town which was known as New Castle. The town was platted 
on Section 28 of present Atlanta township by Timothy B. Hoblit and James 
Allen, December 2, 1836. It was located on the old stage line between 
Springfield and Bloomington and boasted of several stores, a blacksmith 
shop and several residences. The Baptists had built a church here in 1839. 

The following list of names is found subscribed to a petition for the 
sale of school lands in the Congressional township in 1841 and indicates 
the settlers in and around New Castle at that early date: Samuel Hoblit, 
William Gard, Thomas Larison, William Bonine, Samuel Bevan, Henry 
Hornaker, John E. Hoblit. John Druley, Ezekiel Hedges, Benjamin Ship- 
ley, Isaac A. Dunagan, J. D. Tinney, James Shipley, Adam Stephens, 
Fleming Lynch, W. H. Seward, A. K. Martin, James Hedges, Harvey 
Turner, James Downey, Sylvester Strong, Samuel Jones, William Houch- 
ins, William Foley, Cornelius Lambert, Andrew Fogg, John Wintine, Elisha 
Bushnell, Jesse Dobby, J. P. Dunham, Joseph M. Cantrall, John Cline, 
O. T. Crawford, James Barr, Zebulon Cantrall, M. S. Bushnell, Edwin E. 
Bushnell, John Miller, William Dyer, George Dyer, Henry Williams, 
Raymond C. Rathbone, Charles Council, Noah Snedaker and Sampson 
Rees. Soon after Atlanta was laid out, New Castle was abandoned and 
the stores, people and the church moved into Atlanta. 

The proprietors of the new town were Richard T. Gill, Morgan Wil- 
liams and Calvin Riley, but Mr. Gill was the chief promoter. He had come 
to Illinois in 1840 and located in Pekin, Tazewell county, where he was 
sheriff from 1846 to 1850. 

In 1852, he came to Logan county, and early in 1853, having ascer- 
tained that the Alton and Sangamon Railroad was to be extended from 
Springfield to Bloomington, he bought the land on which Atlanta now 
stands. This land was originally acquired from the government by a land 
patent by Lemuel Evans, as assignee of Benjamin Thompson. Thompson 
had served as a private in the United States Army and consequently had 
acquired a grant to this land which is legally described as the W 1 /^ of the 
NE*4 and the EV 2 of the NW*4 of Sec. 20, Township 21N, Range 1 W. of 
the Third P. M. 

The new town was named Xenia. The survey was made March 22, 
1853, the town was dedicated April 7, 1853, and the first sale of lots at 
auction was June 23. 1853. It received its name at the suggestion of Mrs. 
James Downey, who had come from Xenia, Ohio. It continued to be called 
by this name until 1855 when upon application for a post office it was 
found that an office by that name already existed in Illinois. The founders 
of the town thereupon changed the name to Hamilton in honor of Col. L. 

] D. Hamilton, but when applying for a post office under this name were 

J met with the same difficulty. 

: > » 


■^ iiiii'' 

Richard T. Gill 

Finally, Richard T. Gill, remembering the beauty of Atlanta, Georgia, 
which he had recently visited, suggested that the new town be called 
Atlanta, and the name was adopted. A short act passed by the Legislature, 
February 14, 1855, states: "That from and after the passage of this act, 
the name of the town of Xenia in Logan County shall be and the same is 
changed to Atlanta." 

During the first few years of its history, Atlanta gave promise of 
fulfilling the hopes of its founders. Atlanta was truly a boom town. At 
the end of 1854, when the town was little more than a year old, there 
were one hundred houses and the population was about 500. It had five 
dry goods stores, two drug stores, two grocer and confectionery stores, 
one hotel and four grain warehouses. 

The year 1855 witnessed increased building activity with the erection 
of 155 houses, and the houses built in 1856 exceeded the number built the 
previous year. In June, 1856, Editor S. B. Dugger, of the Logan County 
Forum, listed eleven dry goods stores, three clothing stores, one book 
store, one banking house, four furniture stores, one hardware store and 
agricultural warehouse and seed store, two hardware tin and stove stores, 
five grocery and provision stores, four grain warehouses, one boot and 
shoe store, two millinery stores, two tailor shops, three hotels, two livery 
stables, two saddlery and harness stores, two jewelry stores, two tailor 
shops, one cabinet shop, two wagon and carriage shops, three blacksmith 
shops, one steam flour mill, one steam planing mill and sash factory, one 
printing office, two bake shops and one drinking saloon. There were four 
attorneys, seven physicians, four ministers and one dental surgeon. 

Atlanta appears to have reached its high point at the end of four years 
(the spring of 1857). The population then was probably between 1,200 
and 1,300. During these years, Atlanta was a far more enterprising and 
growing town than Lincoln and had a larger population. However, Lincoln 
had been chosen the county seat, and following the depression of 1857 
forged rapidly ahead while Atlanta's population remained stationary. 


Following the incorporation of Atlanta under the town form of gov- 
ernment on February 14, 1855, the first election was held April 2, 1855. 
Richard T. Gill was chosen President of the Board of Trustees. The other 
trustees elected were A. N. Dills, A. K. Martin, William P. Hunt, William 
S. Leonard and Cornelius Lambert. The Board met for the first time on 
April 7, when they named the following officers: John H. Ball, Clerk; 
Elsa H. Dunagan, Constable; H. Armington, Street Commissioner. 

The town government was used until by a special act of the Legisla- 
ture, approved March 4, 1869, a charter was obtained creating the city of 
Atlanta. This act was to take effect upon its adoption by the voters. A 
vote was taken on the proposition March 16, 1869, there being 173 votes 
favorable to city organization and 19 against. A special election was held 
March 23 for the election of city officers with the following result: Mayor, 
Samuel H. Fields; clerk, J. Henry Ball; marshal, J. B. Ransdell; treasurer, 
L. James; assessor and collector, S. D. Fisher; attorney, William E. Dicks; 
street commissioner, J. Finfrock. The charter provided for three wards, 
with one alderman to each ward. Aldermen elected were: First ward, 
W. P. Hunt; second ward, George Estabrook; third ward, E. Stewart. 


, 1 

wt* — r 


Abraham Lincoln was well known to several of Atlanta's pioneer 
families. Some of the earliest contacts were the friendships formed during 
the years when Lincoln was a circuit riding lawyer, travelling the stage 
road between Bloomington and Springfield. The course of that portion 
of the Stage road which passed through Atlanta Township was recorded, 
in detail, by the late John L. Bevan, for many years an Atlanta attorney, 
in a Letter written March 15, 1917 to Judge Lawrence B. Stringer. The 
road entered Atlanta Township at a point near Gordon's bridge, almost 
due south of the east boundary of the city of Atlanta. It ran in a north- 
easterly direction, crossing Clear Creek, a branch of Kickapoo, near the 
Roach Cemetery. The road continued north from this point, across the 
fields, until it emerged at the location of the Lincoln memorial marker 
on the oast west road which is the north boundary of Atlanta Township. 
Bevan wrote that the old road bed could be seen part of the way and that 
he thought the old trail could be followed its entire length. He remem- 
bered, too. having seen stages passing on the old road just south of where 
New Castle was then located. 

It was on the old stage road that Samuel Hoblit built the two story 
house in which he often entertained Abraham Lincoln, David Davis, Judge 
Treat and others equally well known, when on their way to and from 
Bloomington and Springfield. The house was situated west of the stage 
road, just north of the Roach Cemetery, and a little south of the road 
running east from the north edge of the City of Atlanta. The house stood 
until 1942, when it was torn down. 

Illinois was divided then, as it is now, into judicial districts. Each 
was presided over by a judge, who traveled from one county-seat to 
another within his jurisdiction. At this time there were only nine judicial 
districts; consequently each district comprised a much larger area than 
do those of today. The judge was accompanied on his rounds by members 
of the local bar. The custom of riding a circuit was a necessity for a 
lawyer in those early periods since there was not enough legal business 
in any one of the small communities to support a lawyer. Later, during 
Lincoln's second partnership with Herndon, however, the work was not a 
matter of necessity but of choice. Lincoln liked the freedom of the road. 
He made friends at every place he stopped and had a close acquaintance 
with men of all sorts. 


Emmanuel Hertz in his "The Hidden Lincoln" quotes from a letter 
written by William H. Herndon to Jesse W. Weik, dated Springfield, Illi- 
nois. November 22. 1888. 

"Daw Littler tells me this additional story. During some of the polit- 
ical canvasses, the people in Logan County, Illinois, just north of this 
county and adjoining it, had determined to have a large meeting, a grand 
rally, and had appointed the day and the hour. When the day and the 
hour arrived, the heavens opened up with a terrific storm; it blew in hur- 
ricanes and rained in torrents. Only about twenty persons appeared. 
Lincoln had felt this sting of disappointment and therefore he did not wish 
others to be disappointed. After some reflection he said: Boys, the day 
is bad, too bad for many people to appear here to hear me speak, but as 
you have dared the storm to hear a speech, you shall not be disappointed. 
Come, let us go over to Armington's Hall and I'll give you a talk such 
as I have." 

The twenty went over to the hall and Littler, telling Herndon of the 
speech said that it was cool, dispassionate and learned. In a note added 
at the end of his letter Herndon wrote: "The place, village, at which the 
speech was made was Atlanta, Logan County, Illinois." 

It seems probable that Armington's Hall was the three-story brick 
building referred to in the June 19, 1856 issue of the Logan County 
Forum, now in the possession of P. A. Crihfield of Atlanta. It was built 
by H. Armington and is thought to have been located where the Argus 
Office is now. This visit to Atlanta was made in 1856, during the Free- 
mont-Buchanan campaign. 


During Lincoln's campaign for the United States Senate in 1858 he 
stumped Illinois in a series of debates with his Democratic opponent, 
Stephen A. Douglas. At this time Lincoln was Counselor for Richard T. 
Gill, who had laid out the town of Atlanta. On August 26, 1858, the 
day before his famous Freeport speech, Lincoln stopped in Atlanta to 
advise Gill concerning some legal matters. 

The late Dr. G. M. Angell, long a practicing physician in Atlanta, 
related the following to the late Roy H. Crihfield: "Gill then owned a 
large frame building, the first floor of which was filled with a stock of 
merchandise. I had an office on the second floor in front, while back of 
my rooms was an apartment, which Gill and his partners used as a private 
consulting room. When Lincoln had transacted his business with Gill, he 
asked it there was any quiet place where he could go so as not to be 
disturbed, for an hour or two, and said that he had to make a speech at 
Freeport the next day and wanted to think over what he was going to say. 
Gill took him to the consulting room, back of my office. A little later I 
heard a voire, in a vigorous tone, begin 'Judge Douglas says' and then 


followed a speech to an imaginary audience. Gill came quietly up the 
stairway and whispered, 'Listen to Lincoln, he's practicing his Freeport 
speech.' Gill and I both listened to him a while. When, a few days later 
we secured a printed account of the great debate at Freeport, between 
Lincoln and Douglas, we recognized, at once, those portions of the address 
which Lincoln had delivered in Gill's back room in Atlanta." 

James Hart, formerly of Atlanta, now of the Bloomington Pantagraph, 
has a letter from C. W. Gill, son of Richard T. Gill, dated March 10, 1941, 
in which he writes that he remembers that his father and those who helped 

Photograph of ambrotype of Abraham Lincoln 

in the store told of Lincoln's rehearsing his speech in the room over the 
store, his tramping back and forth and talking in a loud voice which could 
bo heard downstairs. 


Atlanta citizens decided to celebrate the anniversary of the nation's 
birth on July 4, 1859. A committee was appointed to secure a speaker 
for the day. Rev. E. J. Thomas, chairman of the committee, wrote to 
Lincoln asking him to come and speak on the occasion. Lincoln replied 
that he was not good as a speaker for such an occasion and recommended 
James H. Matheny of Springfield, who, he said, could make a good Fourth 
of July speech and added that if Matheny agreed to come he would come 
with him. Matheny agreed to speak. He came and Lincoln came with 

The meeting was held at Turner's Grove, located on the property 
adjoining the Atlanta Cemetery on the east and south. Rev. Thomas, in 
recalling the occasion said that the day was cold and raw and that there 
was a heavy frost. Paul M. Angle in his "Lincoln 1854-1861, Being the 
Day-by-Day Activities of Abraham Lincoln from January 1, 1854 to March 
4. 1861" writes "Monday, July 4, 1859 ATLANTA. Lincoln attends a 
Fourth of July rally." Angle quotes briefly from the Illinois State Journal 
write-up of the celebration. 

The Lincoln Herald of July 6, 1859 had this to say of the event: "The 
booming of cannon opened the day. A vast crowd from the country 
thronged the streets early. At ten o'clock, a procession was formed and 
started for Turner's Grove, one mile distant, and we are informed that 
when the head of the procession had reached the grove, the people were 
still forming at the rear in Atlanta." 

There was music by the Atlanta Band and the Atlanta Glee Club. 
Rev. Thomas made an opening prayer, Dr. William T. Kirk, a local phy- 
sician, read the Declaration of Independence and James H. Matheny made 
the Fourth of July speech. After Matheny's address, Sylvester Strong 
stepped forward and with a few words presented a cane to Lincoln, who 
up to this time had taken no part in the exercises. Lincoln responded 
briefly with well chosen words. Judge Stringer stated that the editor 
of the Lincoln Herald, Mr. Dake, was present on the occasion and that he 
probably wrote the following item which was published in the July 6, 1859 
issue: "The cane is of South American orangewood, topped with North 
American Buckthorn. It has a silver plate on top, bearing the words. 
Presented by S. Strong.' Strong and Lincoln are said to have become 
acquainted early in life, when each broke prairie, somewhere below 
Springfield. Upon a silver band, below the middle of the cane, is the first 
letter of Lincoln's name, and thence downward there is a knot for every 
other letter of his name covered with a silver plate and Inscribed with 


its appropriate letter. The silver plate work was executed by Dr. Perkins 
and the engraving by H. O. Rodgers, both of Atlanta." Dr. George R. 
Perkins was an Atlanta dentist whose address as given in the 1856 direc- 
tory as the Logan House. 

Mrs. Anna Strong Forgy, granddaughter of Sylvester Strong, telling 
the story as she had heard it repeated many times, said: "Grandpa with 
his cane sat on the platform with the speakers, and he was so impatient 
to give Mr. Lincoln the cane that he hardly waited until the last words 
were said." Mrs. Forgy said also that after Lincoln's death, she wrote 
to Mrs. Lincoln, asking about the cane. Mrs. Lincoln wrote that it had 
been given to a cousin and that she did not know where it was. It is not 
known where the cane is now but it is thought to be in a collection of 
Lincolniana in the east. 

After the Fourth of July program Lincoln walked with Strong across 
the field to the Strong home about a mile south of Atlanta, due south of 
the Atlanta fair grounds. The house is situated in the pasture, about 
fifty rods south of the east-west road. In the course of the conversation 
Strong told Lincoln that he did not have a picture of him. Lincoln re- 
plied, "Why is that? I will send you one when I go back home." Soon 
afterward Strong received the picture. It was a small ambrotype believed 
to have been taken by Preston Butler in Springfield in 1858. The picture 
was borrowed in the early 1890s by Alfred Montgomery, an Atlanta resi- 
dent quite well known in this vicinity for his paintings of corn. He sent 
it to Ida M. Tarbell whose life of Lincoln was being published serially in 
McClure's Magazine. A full page reproduction of the picture appeared in 
the March, 1896 issue. The picture appears as No. 17 in the 1944 copy of 
"Photographs of A. Lincoln" Frederick Hill Meserve and Carl Sandburg. 
All trace of this ambrotype appears to have been lost. 

In the evening of the day of the celebration an ice cream with 
entertainment was held at the Congregational Church, at the corner of 
Elm and Fifth Streets, now the location of the house purchased by School 
District No. 20 to be the residence of the superintendent of schools. The 
ladies of the church had planned the social for the purpose of obtaining 
money to purchase pews for the new church building which had just been 
completed. Both Lincoln and Matheny attended. During the evening 
James Wren, a local baker, came forward to present to Lincoln a cake 
he had baked for the occasion. He became embarrassed and stood before 
Lincoln, holding out the cake, unable to utter a word of the speech he had 
carefully planned. The situation became an embarrassing one, the speech- 
less baker holding the cake before Lincoln, and apparently rooted to the 
spot. Lincoln relieved the tenseness by saying to the group, "Well, I'm 
not as hungry as I look." Everyone laughed, including the baker. Lin- 
coln thanked the baker, turned around and presented the cake to the ladies 
of the church. It was then sold at auction. Rev. Thomas bought it. 

In the fall of 1859 Lincoln accepted an invitation from Gov. Chase of 
Ohio to make a speech in Columbus. He asked Strong to accompany him 






and he went. Lincoln took the cane with him on this trip. 

When the news reached Atlanta that on May 18, 1860 the Republican 
National convention had nominated Abraham Lincoln for president of the 
United States there was an enthusiastic celebration. Cannons were brought 
out and thirty-three rounds of ammunition were fired in honor of the 
event. An organization of Lincoln "Wide-awakes" was formed in Atlanta 
on June 22, 1860 to aid in the election of Lincoln and his running mate, 
Hannibal Hamlin. A large banner of five feet ten inches long and four 
feet ten inches wide was prepared by two local men, Reuben D. Neal and 
R. N. Lawrance, to be carried in the Wide-awake parades. Neal was a 
photographer and painter; Lawrance worked for him. On the left side 
of the banner is the finely sketched likeness of Lincoln; on the right is 
Hamlin, U. S. senator from Maine at the time of his nomination as candi- 
date for the vice-presidency. The campaign symbols of the "Railsplitter" 
candidate, the axe, maul and wedge are clearly seen on the banner and 
the slogan, "THE NATION'S CHOICE" appears near the bottom of the 
banner. Other banners were made to be used in the campaign but this 
one seems to be the only one having the likenesses of both candidates. 
It is said to have been placed at the head of the parade at the monster 
rally at Springfield. August 8, 1860 which closed the campaign. 

After the election of Lincoln, Lawrance removed the banner from its 
stretcher and carefully preserved it. After service in the Civil War 
Lawrance studied dentistry and after practicing elsewhere for several 
years eventually opened an office in Lincoln. His son, Dr. E. P. Law- 
rance, also a dentist later shared his office, and after the father's death 
continued to practice there. About three years ago the banner, faded 
and brown with the dust and decay of ninety years was restored and 
framed. The breaks in the coarse cloth on which the picture was made 
are visible but it is generally agreed that a good job was done restoring it. 
Dr. E. P. Lawrance presented the banner to Lincoln College at the time 
of their commencement in June, 1950. It now hangs on the north wall 
of the Lincoln Room of Lincoln College. 


When the news of the death of President Lincoln on April 15, 1865 
reached Atlanta the horror and gloom which prevailed over the nation 
were felt here. But there were, in addition, the grief and sorrow which 
follow the loss of a personal friend. The funeral car, bearing the body of 
Lincoln from Washington to Springfield reached Atlanta early on the 
morning of May 3, 1865. A large number of people had assembled and 
the train was met with muffled drum and portraits of Lincoln with em- 
blems of mourning. 

These memories of Lincoln, told and retold many times, are an im- 
portant Atlanta heritage. The early settlers shared the sturdiness and 
self-reliance which were characteristic of Lincoln. These stern qualities 
are the background from which Atlanta has grown. 



The early settlers In Atlanta Township preferred the timber to the 
prairie. A characteristic of the settlement of the township was the stak- 
ing out ot (Maims in the timber lands adjacent to the creeks. These pio- 
neers came from a timbered country and, since they were accustomed 
from childhood to seeing "clearings," the timber had more the appearance 
of home and in addition furnished fuel and protection from the chilling 

It was a common practice among the pioneers to clear the timber from 
a small area, in one instance fifteen acres is mentioned, fence it, plow it 
as well as they could among the roots and stumps, and plant it in corn 
and pumpkins. They made a double use of the prairie grass; they used 
that which made a moderate growth for hay, and that which grew in the 
swamps and made a rank growth, for making shelter for their stock. 

All hough the early settlers considered as ridiculous the idea that 
oops could be grown on the prairie some of them began experimenting 
with the cultivation of the prairie ground. To their surprise the prairie 
produced almost twice as much per acre as the timber land. The prairie 
regions offered advantages much superior to the timbered country. In 
the timbered country a large amount of work had to be done to remove 
the trees, and for many years after, the stumps prevented free cultivation 
of the soil. In contrast to this, on the prairie the sod had only to be turned 
and the crop put in. It was soon evident that this was to be an important 
agricultural area. 

That the future of Illinois as an agricultural state had much to do 
with bringing many of the early settlers here is indicated by the material 
included in the book "Illinois As It Is," written in 1857 by Fred Gerhard 
of New York. At this period there was a great mass of emigration from 
Europe 1 and Gerhard was seeking to direct it to Illinois. He secured the 
material for his book from letters written to him by early residents here 
in reply to his letters asking for information concerning conditions in 
Illinois. This book is considered of historical value. The University of 
Illinois does not permit the copy there to be sent from the library and 
the Illinois State Historical Library sends out one of their copies only by 
registered mail. 

This statement Is made bj Gerhard "The virgin soil, adapted b> 
nature for Immediate culture, only awaits the plough and the seed, in 

1 1 

order to mature golden ears of the most beautiful corn. — No additional 
fertilizer is needed; the soil consists of a rich black mould. — Illinois offers 
the amplest guarantees for the rapid thriving and ultimate success and 
we Hare ot those who may wish to establish for themselves a 'Home in 
the West*." 

At an early date the prairie sod was broken by an ox team of six to 
ten yoke with a heavy, unwieldy looking plow. The plow beam was 
framed into an axle, on each end of which was a wheel sawed from an oak 
log. Corn was planted by cutting a gash with an ax into the inverted sod, 
dropping the corn and closing it with another blow beside the first. After 
the farmer had gathered the year's crop of corn, with husks attached, he 
had a husking bee. Friends came from miles around and after the husking 
was completed an old time dance was held. 

In the cultivation of wheat the plowed land was smoothed by drag- 
ging brush over it. The wheat was sowed broadcast by hand and harrowed 
in with brush. Either a sickle or a cradle was used to cut the wheat. The 
wheat was then bound and shocked. When sufficiently cured it was taken 
to some place on the farm convenient for threshing and there put into a 
stack. The threshing was done by flail or tramping with horses. The 
straw was cleaned by letting it fall from the height of ten or twelve feet 
and letting the wind blow away the chaff. 

Oats also were grown but there was no need for fields of timothy or 
clover as the prairies yielded tons of hay which could be had for the cut- 
ting. Little attention was paid to the rotation of crops since the rich soil 
produced whatever was expected of it and most farmers, thinking it un- 
necessary to pay any regard to the land, were under the impression that 
they best guarded their interests by cultivating exclusively what com- 
manded the highest price. 

In one respect the early farmer had an advantage over the farmer of 
today. His crops were not injured by insects. The prairie grass was set 
on fire each year and all the country burned over so there was little hiding 
place for insect life and the crops grew so rapidly on the new and fertile 
soil that, if any destructive insects existed, the damage they did was so 
small as not to be noticed. Numerous insects and diseases now invade 
the farmers' fields of grain. 

The horse was very important to the farmer until the 1940s when 
many farms had become completely mechanized. In the 1880s trading 
in horses was an important business. Many traders made trips to Europe 


to buy horses to be shipped back and sold to the farmers. The breeding 
of fine draft horses was also an important business. But since the 1920s 
mechanized equipment has gradually replaced horse operated implements 
until now there are many farms without a horse on them. 

Early fences were the zig-zag rail fence and the board fence in which 
two posts and three boards constituted a panel. But the fence most highly 
recommended was the hedge fence and hedge plants were grown to be 
sold to the farmers to be set out on their farms. This fence did not become 
an effective fence until about four years after being finished so that an- 
other fence was erected outside the hedge fence to serve during the in- 
terval. The hedge fence, because of its luxurious growth above ground 
and its extensive root system, prevented the planting of crops for several 
feet at the edge of the field. As cultivation of the soil became more inten- 
sive this became more and more of a handicap. Most of the hedges have 
been pulled and replaced with fences of other types. The barbed wire 
fence has been used on many farms. It takes up very little space and 
has this additional advantage; it can be taken up and used in another 
place if desired. The latest fence to come into use is the electric fence. 
A single wire is attached to a source of electricity and when an animal 
touches it he receives enough of a shock to discourage a further attempt 
to break through. 

Improvements were begun early to make farming a science and a 
business. Agricultural societies, schools and experiment stations have 
studied practically every phase of farm life, and scientific principles have 
been applied to the solution of farm problems. The changes which have 
taken place in agriculture rival those which have taken place in industry. 
In the past fifty years there has been an agricultural revolution. The 
revolution has many phases — machinery, new livestock, insecticides, irri- 
gation, fertilizers. Machines have changed the every day life of the 
farmer — automobiles, tractors, hay balers, combines, corn pickers, elec- 
tric milking machines and many others which are not directly connected 
with farming but which make living on the farm more attractive. Farm- 
ing is now a complicated business requiring a rather large investment and 
involving many risks over which the farmer has no control. 

As interdependence between the city and the farm became more pro- 
nounced, the rural communities lost their isolation. There was a time 
when living in the country was a lonely life. Farm women were diffident 
and farm children were timid and bashful because they seldom met anyone 
outside the family. Today farm people have a full social and cultural 
life. They take advantage of the good roads. They go more and mingle 
with people of all businesses and professions. Through their many organ- 
izations rural people are building a new social life adapted to these times 
and as full of pleasure as the husking bees, threshing rings, sausage mak- 
ings, apple parings, quilting bees, aleigfa rides and singing schools of other 




As previously stated, Atlanta owes its beginning to the coming of the 
Chicago & Alton Railroad. The Alton and Sangamon Railroad Company 
was authorized by an act of the legislature of Illinois, passed Feb. 27, 
1847, to construct a railroad from Alton to Springfield, a distance of 72 
miles. Work on the road was commenced in 1849 and completed in 1852. 
On Feb. 11, 1851, the legislature passed a bill extending the road to 
Bloomington. As soon as the road was completed to Springfield in 1852 
the work of pushing the road farther north was begun. The line reached 
Atlanta in the fall of 1853. 

In the meantime the name of the road was changed to the Chicago 
& Mississippi Railroad. In 1855, the road was reorganized as the Chicago, 
Alton and St. Louis Railroad and the original line was extended to Joliet, 
being completed in 1856. At the same time, the line of the Joliet and 
Chicago railroad was leased in perpetuity, making a through line from 
Alton to Chicago. The name of the railroad was successively changed to 
St. Louis, Alton & Chicago; Alton, Chicago & St. Louis, and finally to the 
name, Chicago & Alton. Under this name, the system became one of the 
main arteries between Chicago and St. Louis. In the 1930's, the railroad 
came under the control of the Baltimore & Ohio system and later a part 
of the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio railroad, under which it is now operated. 

An interesting chapter in the history of the Chicago & Alton railroad 
in connection with Atlanta was its project in the early part of this century 
to reduce the grade between Atlanta and Lawndale. The steep grade 
added much to the expense of operating freight traffic, and trains which 
could easily negotiate all other parts of the line became stalled on the 
Atlanta-Lawndale hill. A "pusher" engine was used for many years to 
help heavy trains up the grade, but this was an expensive and unsatisfac- 
tory method of solving the problem. A contract was awarded the Patton 
& Gibson Construction Co. to make a fill at the Lawndale end and a deep 
cut through Atlanta. The plans called for the railroad to go through 
Atlanta many feet beyow the level of the city streets, requiring viaducts 
at several of the main crossings. For this disfigurement of the town, the 
railroad offered many concessions, among which was the stipulation that 
all passenger trains should make regular stops in Atlanta, a distinction 
which the city enjoyed for many years. 

However, the work of reducing the grade was never completed. After 
many thousands of tons of earth were moved and the work was well 


underway, the road became involved financially and today the large 
mounds of earth north of Lawndalc are the only visible results of a project 
which came to be known as "Felton's Folly." But modern inventive genius 
solved the problem which caused the railroad so much trouble and expense 
in the earlier days. The powerful diesel engines of the present day easily 
haul up the Atlanta-Lawndale hill long freight trains which were unheard 
of in the days of the steam locomotive. 


Hie circumstances surrounding the financing and building of the 
Peoria, Atlanta and Decatur Railroad proved to be an unpleasant and 
costly chapter in the history of the Atlanta community. The affair is well 
described in the Logan County history of the late Lawrence B. Stringer, 
and we quote as follows from his version: 

The Peoria, Atlanta and Decatur Railroad was incorporated by act 
of the General Assembly, March 1, 1869. The incorporators were William 
il. Hamilton, Valentine Dewein, John T. Lindsay, Robert G. Ingersoll, 
Seth Talbot, A. N. Dills, H. Armington, W. S. Dunham, J. C. Prescott. 
Thomas Smith, F. N. Ewing, James Millikin and J. J. Peddecord. The 
capital stock was fixed at $100,000. A meeting was held in Atlanta. 
April 17, 1869 to consider ways and means to advance the proposed road. 
Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, of Peoria, who was attorney for the road, ad- 
dressed the meeting. It was the sense of the meeting that Atlanta town- 
ship should subscribe to the capital stock, to the amount of $50,000 and 
bonds be issued therefor. The proposition was submitted to the voters of 
• he township, June 16, 1869, and the bonds were voted by a margin of 
265 to 29. Work began on the road in 1870, but was not completed until 
the summer of 1874. 

The Atlanta township bonds were issued and delivered to the com- 
pany, but when the time came for the payment of taxes thereon, the com- 
pany was met with a refusal to pay. It was claimed that the company 
lad not complied with its part of the contract, that work on the road at 
hat time had ceased, that the company did not intend to complete the 
road, that the act of incorporation was illegally passed, and that the bends 
had been taken by the company without the consent of the supervisor. All 
iliis the company strenuously denied. In 1874, an injunction was applied 
for to restrain the collector from collecting taxes to pay interest on bonds. 

On trial, this injunction was dissolved. Finally, a compromise proposi- 
tion, by which the township was to pay the bondholders $62,000. lor prin- 
cipal .'Mid interest ol the bonds, was endorsed by the \oters at an election 


^'* t&H 

v. :: 

tm /& 

The High Wheel Bicycle 
(Oscar Hoose) 

hold in April, 1882, by a vote of 228 for and 72 against, and accepted by 
the bondholders, and the matter was thus settled. 

On Nov. 4, 1874, the Peoria, Atlanta and Decatur Company consoli- 
dated its line with that of the Paris & Decatur and the Paris and Terro 
Haute Railroad Companies, forming a continuous line from Peoria to 
Torre Haute, Ind., and the consolidated lines assumed the name of Illinois 


Midland. In 1886, the Illinois Midland was sold under foreclosure to a 
syndicate of Indianapolis capitalists and was reorganized as the Terre 
Haute and Peoria Railroad. In 1892, it was leased for ninety-nine years 
to the Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad, and for a short time was 
also under the control of the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis 
System. Until the great Pennsylvania System took over the lines ox 
January 1, 1921, it was known as a part of the "Vandalia System" and is 
still so designated by many older people in this territory. 


The last decade of the nineteenth century saw the bicycle emerge as 
a popular means of personal transportation. The development of the 
"safety" bicycle with pneumatic tires, in contrast to the high wheel type 
of an earlier day, created a fad which swept the country. In Atlanta, the 
Atlanta Bicycle Club was formed, and sedate Atlanta ladies donned 
bloomers and divided skirts and in groups pedaled their wheels over the 
dusty roads of the countryside. Bicycle racing became the rage, and a 
race meet was held at the Atlanta Fair grounds in which riders of national 
renown competed for prizes of watches and diamonds. Baby Bliss, the 
ponderous fat boy from Bloomington was an attraction. Rivalry sprang 
up among local racers. One that is still remembered culminated in a 
match race between Fred Storrs and the late Marion Watt. After one 
postponement, the race was run on a track at the east edge of Armington 
with Watt the winner. Atlanta even had its own bicycle factory. Atlanta's 
young mechanical genius, George W. Mclntyre, built sturdy machines 
which were highly prized by their owners. 


Atlanta people were introduced to the automobile through a chugging 
little one-cylinder Oldsmobile, brought here in 1902 by James C. Shores, 
and many still remember the thrill experienced in their first ride in this 
primitive machine. Soon others followed the example of Mr. Shores, and 
by 1910 the automobile was beginning to assume a role as a highly de- 
sirable pleasure vehicle in the lives of a number of Atlanta people. It 
was not until 1923, with the completion of the "hard road" (Illinois Route 
4, later to become U. S. Route 66) that the automobile began to take its 
place as a family necessity. With a year round outlet from the city, our 
people quickly recognized the advantages and conveniences of this modern 
means of transportation, and the automobile became an influence in 
changing the daily living of our citizens, just as did the coming of the 
tolophonc and Hoctricity in an earlier period. 



In the early days of Atlanta, most of the buildings were of wood, and 
with no fire fighting facilities, disastrous fires were common. The first 
Atlanta House was destroyed by flames in 1857. R. T. Gill's warehouse 
burned January 9, 1861, including 7,000 bushels of corn and 1,200 bushels 
of wheat. In 1865, fire again broke out and laid waste all the buildings 
between Armington's block and Arch street. The same year, another 
equally disastrous fire destroyed other buildings in the business section, 
at which time the town records were unfortunately destroyed. A fire on 
the nighl of April 25. 1867, razed W. Mix & Company's hardware store, 
owned by Dr. Rankin; J. F. Hyde & Company's shoe store, owned by Alex 
Downey; Allen's drug store, owned by W. E. Dicks; Shores, Dunham & 
Company's store, loss $5,000, besides several other smaller buildings. A 
fire engine was shipped in from Bloomington or the town would have 
been destroyed. On July 7, 1867, another fire destroyed the remainder of 
the block left standing from the fire of April preceding. This fire con- 
sumed Leonard's grocery store, Graser's grocery store, Flugel's shoe shop, 
Hicks & James warehouse, Seth Turner's warehouse, Dunlop's harness 
shop. Mason's grocery, the Downey building, printing office and other 
buildings. On July 11. four days afterward, E. H. Tuttle's warehouse 

In 1872, the Baptist church burned, and on May 25, 1873, West, Fluss 
& Company's planing mill was destroyed, at a loss of $7,000. The Arming- 
ton three-story brick block burned on April 5, 1874, with a loss of $12,000, 
and in November, 1876. Dills & Houser's warehouse burned. 

Another series of fires began in 1882. On July 5th of that year, the 
freight depot of the Illinois Midland railroad burned. The Turner & Tuttle 
mills were destroyed by fire October 26, 1882. These mills were built of 
brick and stone in 1868 by Harvey Turner and J. A. Hoblit at a cost of 
$30,000. At the same time, Armington's elevator, with a capacity of 
15.000 bushels of grain went up in flames. In 1885, Barnett's carpenter 
shop and Hilpert's wagon shop were burned, and in November of the same 
year the Cumberland Presbyterian church was consumed. On March 23, 
1887, fire also destroyed a row of seven frame buildings on the corner of 
Vine and Arch streets. The Grant house burned August 27, 1889. 

With the establishment of a waterworks in 1892, and the acquisition 
of some fire fighting equipment, disastrous fires became less frequent, but 
the spectacular blazes which destroyed the "Blue Barns," located on the 
present sites of the Willow Farms Dairy and Donald Menzel's home, on 
September 6, 1896, and the large livery barn on Arch street, in the sum- 
mer of 1900, are still remembered. The fire which destroyed the school- 
house in the summer of 1908 was one of the most costly fires in the city's 

Since the formation of the Atlanta Fire Department in 1926, fire 
losses have been held to a minimum, a tribute to the department and to 
the city, which has provided adequate facilities for combating the scourge 
of fire. 



The first individual to attempt to publish a newspaper in Logan 
County was S. B. Dugger, and he selected Atlanta as the scene of his 
journalistic venture. The paper was known as the Logan County Forum, 
and its first issue appeared in August, 1855. 

S. B. Dugger and his brother, Jefferson L. Dugger, had been asso- 
ciated in the publication of the Macoupin Statesman at Carlinville. Both 
came to Atlanta in 1855, S. B. Dugger going into the newspaper business 
and launching the Forum, and Jefferson Dugger becoming a member of 
the mercantile firm of Gill & Co. 

When the Atlanta boom subsided in 1858, Mr. Dugger discontinued 
the Forum and moved west. 

Afterwards one or two other newspapers were started, among them 
the Logan County Journal in 1865, conducted by P. Casserly, but none 
continued successfully save the Atlanta Argus, which was established in 
May. 1869, by Albion Smith. 

At the end of the year, Mr. Smith admitted F. B. Mills as a partner. 
After a time, Smith & Mills sold to A. W. Briggs, of Rhode Island, and 
he in August, 1874, sold to George L. Shoals. 

It was during the Shoals ownership that the Crihfield family became 
identified with the Argus. H. Crihfield started in as "devil" March 25, 
1875 since which time he had continuous active connection with the paper 
until his death in July 1935. 

Mr. Crihfield purchased the plant from George L. Shoals in Novem- 
ber, 1881, and in 1885 Robert C. Crihfield, a younger brother, was ad- 
mitted as a partner. In 1908 the business was incorporated under the 
corporate name of Crihfield Bros. Inc., and H. Crihfield's two sons, Philip 
A. and Robert Eugene, were admitted to part ownership and active man- 
agement in the business. 

Robert C. Crihfield died in 1920; Robert Eugene Crihfield in 1925. 
and Horace Crihfield in 1935, after which the business was operated by 
Philip A. Crihfield until 1951, when it passed out of ownership in the 
Crihfield family after a span of seventy years, with the sale of the business 
to Sherman S. Stewart, of Mackinaw. 

The issue of June 19, 1856 of the Logan County Forum; the issue of 
September 3, 1857 of the Atlanta Weekly Forum; and an issue of the 
Logan County Journal of December 15, 1865 arc in the possession of 
Philip ,\. Crihfield 


Atlanta Lodge No. 165, A. F. & A. M., commenced work in Atlanta on 
the evening of December 7, 1854 under a dispensation from the Grand 
Lodge of the State of Illinois, of date November 23, 1854, with twelve 
charter members. 

On October 2, 1855, the grand Lodge of the State of Illinois granted 
to Atlanta Lodge a special charter. The first officers were Richard T. 
Gill, Worshipful Master; Robert H. Killen, Senior Warden; George W 
Rowell, Junior Warden; and Dr. J. B. Tenney, Secretary. There were 
thirty-three charter members: Lewis Eichburgh; Jerome B. Tenney; A. J. 
Thomas, Daniel Tenney, George W. Michaels, Orin H. Butler, George W. 
Goodheart, Joseph Tidd, Samuel Eichburgh, George W. Angell, H. D. 
Downey, John A. Druley, Mathew L. Fuller, Samuel Bevans, A. E. Forbes. 
Abel Larison, T. B. Douglass, Elijah S. Wicklin, A. K. Martin, John V 
McGahan, Abram Winsor, D. W. Winsor Jr., George L. Parker, Thomas 
J. Larison, Daniel Proctor, Francis M. Tuttle, J. Henry Ball, James Lari- 
son, Jackson Hukill and Meyer Friedman. 

At the present time (1953) there are 142 members, including ono 
thirty-third degree Mason, Judge Frank S. Bevan. 


Atlanta Chapter No. 188 R. A. M. was organized under dispensation 
April 19, 1882. Its charter is dated October 27, 1882. The charter mem- 
bers were W. T. Kirk, George F. Bennett, A. E. Church, J. G. Bourne. 
A. W. Chenoweth, Julius W. Regents, John S. Perriton, S. H. Fields, A. 
J. Ludlam, William Danenbaum, Dennis Kenyon, C. C. Aldrich and S. I. 


Atlanta Chapter No. 881, Order of the Esatern Star, was instituted 
March 17, 1922, with 25 charter members. Mrs. Muriel Selby was the 
first Worthy Matron, and Robert S. Mclntyre, the first Worthy Patron 
Other officers were: Mrs. Dora Mclntyre, Associate Matron; Miss Mar. 
Thomson, Secretary; Dr. Maskel Lee, Treasurer; Mrs. Feme Crandali. 
Conductress; Mrs. Eugenia Lee, Associate Conductress; Mrs. Emily Crih- 
field, Chaplain; Joseph A. King, Marshall; Mrs. Sara Appenzeller, Or- 
ganist; Mrs. Camilla Sheer, Adah; Mrs. Ema King, Ruth; Mrs. Edna Crih- 
field, Esther; Mrs. Laurinda Watt, Martha; Mrs. Edna Reinmiller, Electa; 
Mrs. Lillian Hamilton, Warder; Don Lee, Sentinel. 


The charter members were: Mr. and Mrs. Horace Crihfield, Dr. and 
Mrs. Maskel Lee, Don Lee, Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Crihfield, Mr. and 
Mrs. Joseph A. King, Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Reinmiller, Mrs. Muriel Selby. 
Miss Mary Thomson, Mr. and Mrs. C. R. Crandall, Mr. and Mrs. Bert 
Appenzeller, Mr. and Mrs. T. N. Hamilton, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Sheer. 
Mrs. Laurinda Watt, Raymond Wagner and Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. 

An outstanding attendance record was made by Robert S. Mclntyre. 
who missed but two meetings during his 27 years in the chapter. 

The present membership in 1953 is 123. 


In March 1855 twelve prominent business men of Atlanta met and 
formed an organization that embraced the principles upon which Odd 
Fellowship was founded. At this meeting, a petition was directed to the 
Grand Lodge of Illinois. The petition was accepted and a dispensation 
was granted. 

Logan Lodge held its first meeting on April 15, 1855. At the next 
session of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, a charter was issued the new lodge 
naming it Logan Lodge No. 176. The charter was signed by Grand Master 
James E. Starr October 12, 1855, with Charles B. Van Horn as Noble 
Grand and William Van Horn as secretary. 

The charter members were James P. Mead, Charles B. Van Horn. 
William Van Horn, Anthony N. Dills, John M. Gill, Louis Eichberg, J. M. 
Tuttle, Jefferson Dugger, B. F. Dalzell, Andrew D. Downey, Isaac V. 
Gray and J. M. Fisher. 


Whittier Lodge No. 242, Daughters of Rebekah, was instituted in At- 
lanta, January 31, 1889, Mrs. Joseph Uhr being the first Noble Grand. 
Later this lodge disbanded. 

On April 6, 1917, the new Whittier Rebekah Lodge, No. 804 was 
instituted by Mrs. Blanche Yancey, of McLean, who had been appointed 
Special deputy by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Illinois. 

The degree was conferred by Nona Lodge of McLean, and the follow- 
ing officers were elected: Noble Grand, Emma Mason; Vice Grand, Kath- 
erlne Dreher; Secretary, Elizabeth Robinson; Treasurer. Hazel Miller. 

Their were 38 charter members. 19 men and 19 women. 

Charter members who are still active and still belong to the order are 


Dell Dreher, Olive Baker and Hazel Miller. At the present time there are 
SO members. 


Records show that Atlanta Camp No. 500, M. W. A. was instituted 
February 10, 1888, with the following officers: George I. McFarland, 
Consul; J. W. Gordon, Clerk; C. A. Jones, Banker. Roy A. Colaw, present 
clerk of Atlanta Camp, has served as secretary continuously since 1933. 


This camp was instituted September 20, 1898, and the charter was 
granted October 12, 1898. The first meeting was held on Nov. 12, 1898, 
at which time the officers were elected, a name for the camp was selected 
and by-laws were adopted. The name, Diana, meaning Great Huntress 
was chosen, and the following officers were elected: Anna Kearney, 
Oracle; Sarah Morse, Vice Oracle; Ella Boosinger, Recorder; Mrs. J. D. 
Brock, Receiver. 

The charter members of this camp were: Horace Crihfield, Mrs. J. D. 
Brock, Ella Boosinger, A. L. Moorehead, Etta R. Snyder, D. H. Rhodes, 
Mrs. D. H. Rhodes, T. B. Reeves, Mrs. A. Fiddler, Ed Fiddler, Jennie 
Vance, Hallie Vance, Philip Vance, W. W. Richmond, Alice Higgins, Helen 
Kinser, William Kinser, James Williams, Zora Dagley, Nora Campbell, 
Anna Kearney, F. S. Storrs, Sarah E. Morse, Theodore Reeves, Mollie 
Corthon, D. G. Corthon, T. N. Hamilton, Mrs. Lillie Hamilton, C. A. Jones, 
Mrs. C. A. Jones, B. I. Pumpelly, J. T. Webster, J. M. Gaines, James 
Snyder, Mrs. J. T. Webster. Hattie Foley, James Dagley, Lieffie A. 


Prairie Gem Lodge, Independent Order of Good Templars No. 265, 
was organized during the month of March, 1856, by L. L. Bond, of Chicago, 
G. W. S. of the State of Illinois. The first officers were S. B. Dugger, 
Miss M. J. O'Brien, H. A. Angell, G. A. Colton, Mrs. Julia Burritt, A. H. 
Forrest, A. B. Barron, C. H. Strathman, J. V. McGahan, Mrs. Sarah Lewis, 
Mrs. C. M. Dugger, H. A. Clow, James Shores and J. Q. A. Lewis. Meet- 
ings were discontinued in 1869. 

March 2, 1896, the Good Templars Lodge was again organized and 
for sometime was a flourishing order. The following officers were elected 
and installed by W. H. Neel, Deputy: C. T., Mr. Smith; V. T.. Miss Nora 


Martin; secretary, Miss Hattie Slack; F. S., D. D. Throop; treasurer, Miss 
Hattie Mason; S. J., Mrs. Wikle; P. C. T., Prof. A. S. Patterson; M., Lewis 
Holt; G., Eugene Steinaker; Sent., E. Langdon; Chap., Mr. Scott; A. S., 
Rev. E. J. Thomas; D. M., Miss Alice Stratton. 

1 tilling this period, the W. C. T. U. flourished in Atlanta, and each 
member of the Good Templars Lodge took a temperance pledge, even to 
the extent of promising to abstain from drinking sweet cider. 


Central Lodge No. Ill, A. O. U. W., was organized March 25, 1878. 
The first officers were J. C. Cole, Past Master Workman; S. B. James, 
Master Workman; A. J. McLain, F.; Alfred Turner, O.; W. H. Mason, 
Recorder; C. H. Turner, Financier; A. J. Reise, Receiver; M. L. Higgins, 
G.; W. H. McGahan, I. W.; George Hoerr, O. W. 


Atlanta Lodge No. 108, I. O. M. A., an insurance and fraternal order, 
was organized January 13, 1881, with sixty-six members. 


Acme Lodge No. 332, Knights of Pythias of Atlanta, Illinois, was insti- 
tuted February 11, 1892. The first officers of the lodge were: C. C, Chas. 
W. O'Connell; V. C, James H. Jones; Prelate, Oscar Hoose; Treasurer, 
Levi Coons; Finance Secretary, John Ward; Secretary, Charles Holder; 
M. A., Henry Dillon; I. G., George Maus; O. G., Robert Mclntyre. 

The Lodge was instituted with twenty-nine members and had a peak 
membership of one hundred members in 1910. The organization became 
inactive in 1937. 


Atlanta Temple, No. 241, Pythian Sisters was instituted March 16, 
1914. The first officers were: Past Chief, Emma Mason; Most Excellent 
Chief, Bessie Bevan; Excellent Senior, Fern Crandall; Excellent Junior, 
Ada Cheatham; Manager, Dell Hoose; Mistress of Records and Corres- 
pondence, Leiffie Weaver; Mistress of Finance, Cora B. Hitchell; Pro- 

>r, [Catherine Dreher; Guard, Gertrude Kurth. 

The organization is no longer activ 


Chickasaw Tribe No. 277, I. O. R. M., was organized in 1906 with 35 
charter members, and was in existence about ten years. A Council of the 


Daughters of Pocahontas was organized in 1914 and remained active for 
about three years. 


The Anti-Thief Society was organized in 1854, designed to protect 
members and residents about town against all kinds of thieving. In 1869, 
the laws of the society were revised and printed and more members were 
added until the number reached 103. At that date, they had reported 39 
horses and mules returned to their owners, out of 42 stolen, and a vast 
amount of merchandise had also been recovered. Sixteen thieves had 
been apprehended. The officers of the society at an early time were John 
E. Hoblit, president; S. H. Fields, vice-president; Frank Hoblit, treasurer 
and secretary; Smith Stroud, captain, and Abel Larison, lieutenant. The 
existence of this society, its mode of decisive action and determination to 
find the outlaw was one of the strongest safeguards the city of Atlanta 



Atlanta Post No. 326, G. A. R., was mustered August 27, 1883, with 
thirty-nine members and the following officers: Commander, F. J. Fields; 
senior vice commander, H. C. Hawes; junior vice commander, Daniel 
Gardner; quartermaster, A. P. West; chaplain, John Wikel; surgeon, W. 
T. Kirk; officer of the day, J. W. Spindler; officer of the guard, James 
Lambert; adjutant, James Ladew; sergeant major, A. W. Chenoweth; 
quartermaster's sergeant, W. L. James. 

The Post was active during the ensuing years, until death took its 
toll of the veterans. The last member of the Post was Henry C. Hawes, 
who passed away August 15, 1931. 

An active organization connected with the G. A. R. Post and auxiliary 
thereto was the Woman's Relief Corps. 


Atlanta also had its Ku Klux Klan. Organized in 1919, it is said to 
have had a membership numbering almost two hundred. At a joint re- 
vival meeting of the Christian, Methodist and Baptist churches in Atlanta, 
the Klan made a public presentation of $300 to be divided equally among 
the three churches. 



The rapid early growth ol Atlanta brought many persons to town who 
were without means of private board and lodging, and the hotel business 
attracted some of the early arrivals as promising lucrative returns. By 
June, L856, three hotels were listed in S. B. Duggers directory of Atlanta. 
Perhaps the first was the Layton House on North Railroad street. Part 
of this place is still standing and is the home of Mrs. Theodore Williams. 
John Layton was an uncle of Mrs. Mattie Clay and Mrs. Ann Bowers, of 
Atlanta. In 1856, James M. Cantrall was listed as the proprietor of this 

A hotel at the corner of Vine and Railroad streets, known as the 
Atlanta House, was built in 1855, but was destroyed by fire in 1857. Later 
it was rebuilt and for many years was one of Atlanta's leading hotels. 
Older citizens will remember it under the nickname of "The Blue Goose." 

The Logan House was a four-story structure at the corner of Vine and 
Church streets (now a vacant lot one block east of the Logan-Mason 
service station). During the first days of Atlanta, Elza Dunagan built a 
two-story boarding house on this site. In 1856, A. G. Colton purchased 
the property and added two stories to the building. It was known as the 
Logan House for many years, but the name was changed to the Grant 
House by Ed Newman, who was the proprietor for a long time. It burned 
August 27, 1889. This hotel at one time was considered the best in At- 
lanta, but at the time of its burning the building had become almost a 
complete wreck. 

The Coleman House, under the management of David L. Coleman, 
was Atlanta's leading hotel during the 1880's and into the early years of 
the twentieth century. Located at the corner of Vine and Arch streets 
(now the site of the Logan-Mason service station) the Coleman House 
was the scene of many social events and gatherings, as well as being 
popular with the traveling public. With changing conditions, the hotel 
business in Atlanta became less lucrative, and owners succeeding the 
Colemans met with poor success. The property was finally sold to Acme 
Lodge, Knights of Pythias, of Atlanta. The Lodge contemplated the 
building of a three-story brick building, but the project did not materialize. 
The Stemen building, just north of the site of the former hotel, is a part 
of the old Coleman House. 

At the present time. Atlanta's only hotel is operated by Mrs. Helen 
Bates on Railroad street 


Atlanta's First Hotel 


There's a house in town 

With a history; 
It's the old hotel 

By the cottonwood tree. 

And at one corner 
If you notice well, 

You can trace the name 
Of the old hotel. 

Twas a famous place 
In the long ago — 

Jim Currence says, 

And he ought to know. 

Around the fireplace 
The boarders sat, 

And passed the evenings 
In social chat. 

Who its builders were 

I quite forget; 
I know they're gone, 

And the inn's there yet. 

But all these things 
Have passed away; 

And the old hotel 
Has had its day. 

A long flat building 
The roof slopes down; 

Its boarded walls 
Are painted brown. 

Now this relic old 
You can daily see, 

Still standing there 

By the cottonwood tree. 



The Atlanta House 


■ ■ 

The Coleman House 



The banking house of T. N. Gill & Co.. was the first bank organized 
in Atlanta and probably in Logan Co. It opened for business in the spring 

154. This firm was succeeded by David Kern & Co. and was in turn 
followed by Dills, Kem & Co., who conducted the business until 1866, 
when it passed into the hands of the Hoblit brothers. In 1875, the Hoblits 
changed their bank to a National Bank under the name of The First 
National Bank of Atlanta, conducting it as such until 1879, when it again 
became a private institution, known as the Atlanta Bank. It was located 
where Judge Frank S. Bevan now has his office. 


The Atlanta National Bank was organized in 1877 with Samuel H. 
Fields as president; William S. Dunham as vice-president, J. P. Hierony- 
mus, as cashier, and the following directors: Augustus Reise, William S. 
Dunham, J. P. Hieronymus, A. P. West, William Gambrel and H. C. 
Quisenberry. The bank occupied the rooms now owned and used by Judge 
Frank S. Bevan as his Atlanta office, until 1916, when the building which 
it now occupies was acquired. 

The bank is capitalized for $50,000, and its report as of December 
31, 1952 showed a surplus of $50,000 and undivided profits of $50,447.46. 
Deposits totaled $2,474,000. 

On two occasions, the bank has been the victim of attempted daylight 
robberies. The first, on October 10, 1931, was thwarted when one of the 
robbers mistook his own image in the mirror of the safe deposit vault for 
that of a bank employe and shot, shattering the mirror. The robbers then 
fled without securing any of the bank's funds. On June 29, 1932, the bank 
was held up again, and the robbers made off with $4,386.33 and were 
never apprehended. Since that time, bullet proof glass and other safety 
devices have been installed to guard against robbery. 


The People's Bank was organized October 6, 1887 as a general part- 
nership with the following officers and directors: George W. Funk, presi- 
dent P. R. Marquart, vice-president; C. H. Turner, cashier; Ed. Stubble- 
field, J. L. Bevan, John H. Burt, C. T. Rock, P. R. Marquart and C. H. 
Turner, directors. The bank was located in the two-story brick structure 
which it built at the corner of Arch and Vine streets. The capital stock 
was $40,000. In 1921, in order to conform to the new banking laws, the 
bank was reorganized, under the name of Peoples Bank of Atlanta, and 
the capital was increased to $50,000. In 1950, the directors of the bank 
decided that, although the affairs of the bank were in a healthy condition, 
circumstances were such that a liquidation of its assets was advisable. 
Deposits were not accepted after June 30, and on July 29, 1950, the stock- 
holders voted approval of the directors' action. Depositors were paid in 
full, and with the final dividend to stockholders in June, 1951, the Peoples 
Bank ceased to exist after an honorable record of nearly 64 years. 






h \ 

1 1 



fc -^*^1^^p^ 





The Atlanta Cemetery was established in 1857, four years alter the 
incorporation of the town. The first land secured for use as a cemetery 
was bought from Harvey Turner and his wife and deeded to "David Kern, 
president; Ira A. Church, John A. Droolcy, James Shores, A. N. Martin 
and R. H. Killin, Trustees of the town of Atlanta, and their successors in 
Office." This land was a portion of the tract which Harvey Turner en- 
tered on the 20th of October, 1835, and for which he received his patent, 
the deed from the United States, on the 1st of November, 1839. Additional 
land has been purchased as the need arose. 

At the close of the Civil War, a large monument was erected in the 
cemetery to honor the soldiers who fought and died during the war. A 
large mounted cannon and a mound of cannon balls was placed near the 
base of this monument. For many years the Atlanta Band followed by 
a long train of citizens, marched to the cemetery and held memorial serv- 
ices on this lot. These services consisted mostly of patriotic speeches by 
members of the G. A. R., after which a cannon was fired and flags were 
placed on all the veterans' graves on Memorial Day. The flags are still 
placed on all soldiers' graves, though the services are no longer held. 

The Ladies' Cemetery Association of Atlanta was organized January 
5, 1900, and a charter was granted to the Association, the incorporators 
being Lucy M. Church, Hattie A. Medberry and Emma Onstott. Their 
purpose was to form an association to take charge of the management and 
care of the cemetery. The association met January 18, and elected the 
following officers: President, Mrs. Margaret Randolph; vice-president, 
Mrs. Addie Long; secretary, Mrs. Mary M. Mix; treasurer, Mrs. Elizabeth 
Dunham; directors, Mrs. May McKinnon, Mrs. Emma Onstott, Mrs. Mary 
Dalzell, Mrs. Lucy Church, Mrs. Ella Turner, Mrs. Mina Rowan and Mrs. 
Hattie Medberry. A committee, consisting of Mrs. Adeline Long, chair- 
man, Hattie Medberry, Mary Dalzell, Ida McKinnon and May Dunham 
drafted a constitution and by-laws, which were presented for adoption at 
a meeting held February 15. On February 22, the association met at the 
home of Mrs. Rathbone, at which meeting the constitution and by-laws 
were signed. 

The City of Atlanta deeded its cemetery to the association which has, 
since its organization, cared for and controlled the property intrusted to 
it. Previous to the time when the association accepted this responsibility, 
the individual lot owners cared for their lots or employed a man by the 
season to care for them. Under this system there were many neglected 
lots. The Cemetery Association accepted responsibility for the care of a 
lot for $1.50 per year, or pledged perpetual maintenance of a lot for the 
payment of a $50 trust fund. For the first sexton, James Larison was 
engaged, who gave his entire attention to the care of the grounds. The 
cemetery was soon cleared of all grass and rubbish and all streets and 
alleys were kept mown. The Association has always striven to keep the 
grounds in the best of condition and today Atlanta has one of the prettiest 
cemeteries anywhere. 

The fees from lot owners able to pay, and the income from the trust 


fund have not always been enough to pay all expenses. However, recent 
gifts to the Association have helped meet this need. In recent years, a 
gift of $300 from Margaret Gordon Hoose, $2,000 from Blanche Rock and 
a deed for 220 acres of land at Steele, Mo., by Clinton Martin, have been 
greatly appreciated. All lots that are sold now arc sold with perpetual 

On March 6, 1911. 2.58 acres of land by deed from Florence Shugart 
to the City Ol Atlanta were added to the property, and on July 2, 1929. 
icivs, known as the Morphis land were added 

The Atlanta Cemetery came under state supervision on January 1, 
1948 by the passage of the Cemetery Care Act, passed by the state legis- 
lature in 1947. 

Atlanta can truly be proud of her cemetery and the results of the 
interest and work of the Ladies' Cemetery Association. 


The Atlanta Public Library was established in March, 1873, in ac- 
cordance with the laws of Illinois. It stands as a monument to the public 
spirited citizens, who realized the need for books in this community and 
did something about it. James Shores was elected president of the first 
library board; S. D. Fisher, secretary, and Benjamin Bean, librarian pro 
tern. Other directors were Seth Turner, Dr. B. F. Gardner, Frank Hoblit. 
W. S. Dunham. J. B. Tenney and E. J. Thomas. 

For several years, the front room of the printing office was used as 
a library, with George B. Shoals, editor of the Argus, as librarian. Other 
early librarians were Mrs. Shoals, John W. Spindler and Dr. M. Lee. In 
1881, the first catalogue was printed, listing 1,500 books. In 1893, the 
library was moved to the old city hall, and Miss Alta Chenoweth served 
as librarian for fifteen years. Upon her resignation, Miss Harriet Hamil- 
ton was elected librarian. She was succeeded by Mrs. Eda B. Quisen- 
berry, who served for thirteen years. On February 1, 1923, Mrs. Gail 
Haines was asked to serve while Mrs. Quisonberry was in the South for 
her health. On May 1, 1923 she was elected librarian and has served 
continuously since. Many fine young people have assisted in the library 
and gone forth to broader fields of service. 

In 1907, more space was needed for books and for the many patrons 
who had to stand In line to receive them. Once more the public-spirited 
citizens did something about it. Seward Fields, a former citizen, donated 

the three lots which form the spaeiows grounds on which the library 

stands. With generous contributions From the public, among them a gift 

Of $4,000 from Mrs. Martha Harness Tuttle, the present building was 


The Atlanta Public Library 

erected at a cost of $9,500. The building was dedicated on March 28, 1908, 
with a reception and book shower in the afternoon and a program in the 
evening at Murphy Hall. 

In October, 1924, the Atlanta Woman's Club established a rental shelf 
of new fiction, a fee of 10 cents a week being charged for each book. This 
proved very popular. The initial gift was $100. The annual silver teas 
of the club have netted $409.14, and the rental fees have totaled $1,024.20, 
a grand total of $1,533.44, all of which was used for the purchase of new 
fiction. Forty books are kept on the rental shelf, and 1,300 have been 
transferred to the free library. Many patrons have given and loaned 
new books to the rental shelf. 

The Junior Woman's Club is also a generous contributor to the li- 


brary. Most of their gilts have been spent for children's and teen-age 

A Memorj Shelf was started in February, 1944 by G. Harry Tuttle, 
thm president of the Library Board, in honor of the boys who lost their 
lives in World War II. He gave a book in memory of each boy. They 
wviv Eugene Hubner, John Purlee, Frederick Snow, Simon Wonderlin. 
Gerald Baker, Robert Sexton, Joseph Brandt, Russell Jones, Elon Gard- 
ner. A. Usherwood and James Williams. There is also a book honoring 
the memory of Hartford Larison and one for John B. King. 

The Memory Shell has grown rapidly into a section. Books come from 
all parts of the United States, honoring the memory of relatives and 

Two endowments were left to the library — from Seward H. Fields. 
$3,000, and from Miss Alice Tuttle, $1,000. Mrs. Lillian Harry willed the 
library $1,000 at her death. Many fine books came to the library from 
their private libraries. 

In February, 1948, the Atlanta Woman's Club and the Junior Woman's 
Club sponsored a redecoration project of the library. They were joined 
by the Parent-Teacher's Association, the Atlanta Rotary Club and many 
private citizens. A complete restoration was carried out, the library being 
closed for one month. 

The library contains approximately 11,000 books, and the circulation 
of books and magazines is steady. 

A memorial gift to the library consists of three pictures of Abraham 
Lincoln over the fireplace, with a placard below reading: "From a col- 
lection of Mrs. Anna Strong Forgy, whose grandfather Sylvester Strong, 
was a warm personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, and at whose home 
Lincoln visited on his trips on the old 8th Circuit. Given by her son. 
Clinton D. McWhenney." 

The library also has a large lithograph of New Salem, home of Lin- 
coln from 1831 to 1839. This was published by R. J. Onstott, and one of 
the cabins is the old Onstott home. Many volumes of Lincoln history 
and biography are on the shelves. 

The large silk flag of Atlanta Post, Grand Army of the Republic is in 
the library, loft there by Henry C. Hawes, the last Civil War veteran in 


Some years ago, James O'Donnell Bennett. Chicago Tribune writer, 
wrote a series of articles on Chicagoland within a radius of 250 miles. 
One article devoied to the Atlanta Library, at which he was amazed. 
He called if Atlanta University, and closed with these words: "So I call 
Atlanta a most stimulating and illuminating specimen of the goodly Chi- 
cagoland and the moral is, thai what can be done in Atlanta, can he done 



The Atlanta Union Central Agricultural Society was organized in 
1860 and incorporated by special act of the legislature in 1861. A. N. 
Dills, A. C. Barnes, Joseph Bell, Isham Atchison, G. N. Bryson, Ezra T. 
Kenyon, J. E. Hoblit, Alex Downey, P. R. Marquart, J. A. Pitts, A. J. 
Ludlam and Ellis Dillon acted for the society as incorporators. 

The early settlers saw the advantages arising from breeding a high 
grade of stock and cultivating the more productive and improved varieties 
of grain and fruit. They wisely thought an agricultural society would be 
one of the best means to promote this end. 

From its inception, the idea was to conduct a union fair at Atlanta 
for the four counties of Logan, McLean, DeWitt and Tazewell, since At- 
lanta occupied a strategic position geographically and historically as to 
the four counties. 

Early in 1860, it was decided to organize a fair association as a stock 
company, the stock to be $20 per share, 20% of the face value to be paid 
down, 30% when called for, and the balance of 50% in one year. In a 
short time the sum of $4,000 was subscribed. April 2, 1860, a meeting 
was called. Samuel Hoblit was selected as chairman and S. D. Fisher as 

A subsequent meeting was held April 20, 1860 at which the Atlanta 
Union Central Agricultural Society was formally organized by the election 
of the following officers: President, A. W. Morgan; vice-presidents, Isham 
Atchison and Samuel Hoblit; directors, A. N. Dills, A. D. Downey, Syl- 
vester Strong, Jonathan Merriam, Joseph Pitts, R. W. Burt and A. C. 
Barnes. It was also decided to purchase ground and hold the first fair the 
coming October. 

The land purchased from John E. Hoblit consisted of 18 acres of roll- 
ing prairie within the town plat and adjoining on the south, for which the 
society was to pay $65 per acre. (To this original site, the society later 
added some 18 acres more.) The site having been purchased, the 18 
acres were enclosed by an eight-foot high board fence and within this 
enclosure the first fair was held October 9, 10, 11 and 12, 1860. The 
Atlanta Union Central Agricultural Society obtained its charter February 
15. 1861 from the General Assembly of 1860-61. 

At the end of a quarter of a century, we read from "History of Logan 
County" published in 1886: 

"Few societies in the state can boast a finer grounds. During these 
many years, groves of native and evergreen trees have been carefully 
cultivated and now groups of beautiful shade trees are scattered over the 
grounds. An abundance of water is obtained from wells. The buildings 
are convenient, commodious and handsome. Long lines of roomy stalls 
for horses and cattle, a large number of comfortable pens of hogs and 

a substantial machinery hall, an extensive dining room, a large 
semi-Circular covered amphitheatre, capable of seating several thousand 
persons, a tasty and ornamental band stand, and an elegant new floral 
hall lor the exhibition of farm and garden products, fruits, canned goods, 
fancy work, art displays, etc., all attest that the directors carefully studied 
the interests of exhibitors and visitors alike. A circular race track, facing 
the amphitheatre, is laid out in the east part of the grounds. A fair has 
been held every year with the exception of 1862, when the Civil war ab- 
sorbed every interest. 

'"It must not for a moment be supposed that all has been clear sailing, 
and that their meetings have been a series of uninterrupted successes. Like 
all similar organizations, it has had its ups and downs, its bright and 
gloomy sides, but it has been especially fortunate in having a set of warm 
supporters, who were neither willing to give up its life nor sacrifice its 
honor, and this one has succeeded in riding every storm and has paid its 
debts, dollar for dollar. At one time, its debts amounted to $2,700, and 
the directors were compelled to pledge their private obligations to secure 
them. At this date, it stands free of debt with a surplus of $1,500 in the 

"The display of horses, hogs, cattle, and sheep is unusually good. 
Liberal premiums are offered and closely contended for. This annual 
display of fine stock has led to the constant improvements of the breeds, 
and has earned for this section of the country an enviable reputation in 
cattle, horses, hogs and sheep. Few finer rings of draft horses can be 
seen anywhere than at this fair, and the show of the grade and thorough- 
bred cattle is superior. 

"In the halls, the ladies vie with each other in canned fruits, breads, 
cakes, fancy and useful articles, and the farmers in all the varied pro- 
ductions of farm and garden. 

"It has been the intention of the managers to make this a stock and 
agricultural fair, and they have offered little encouragement to racing. 
Their is a good track where some trials of speed are made, but no large 
purses are offered or special efforts put forth to make this a leading 
feature. Gambling devices of every kind are frowned upon, the sale of 
all kinds of liquor is strictly prohibited, and every effort put forth to 
maintain a high moral standard. 

"A list of premiums offered is annually published and distributed 
throughout the country. It is carefully revised each year, and such 
changes made as experience and the times demand. Since its organiza- 
tion, there has been paid out through the various channels of the society, 

"Authority is granted by the constitution to establish an institution 
<>! learning in connection with the society, the object of BUCh an institution 
lo Introduce a COUrae of a more thorough instruction in those blanches 

of science that more directly concern an agricultural community, as well 



■ -, .» 


as the arts and sciences, and in connection with it to conduct a farm for 
experimental purposes. Up to the present time, the society has never 
followed out this provision." 

The first annual gathering of the "Old Settlers Union" was held by 
imitation with the Agricultural Board at the fair grounds September 7, 
1880. All residents of the four counties, who had lived in Illinois forty 
years, were eligible for membership. Silk badges were presented, blue 
for those who had lived in Illinois fifty years, red for those who had lived 
in the state forty years. The society gave them the use of a pleasant 
grove, known as "Old Settlers Grove," for holding their annual meetings 
and accompanying exercises. In 1881, they decided to erect a "monu- 
mental log cabin" in their grove, each member being allowed to contri- 
bute one log or piece toward the building. The building was erected 
August 16, 1881, a substantial log cabin, 18 by 20 feet. The pioneers also 
in 1882 erected a small cabin of unhewn logs, using neither nail nor modern 
device in its construction, this as a monument to the "Snow Birds" or 
pioneers, who had settled previously to the big snow of 1830-31. 

From the Atlanta Argus of August 30, 1910: 

"It is hard to realize the Atlanta Fair has completed half a century 
of existence. Such a record is unique among county fairs, the average life 
of which is 25 years. 

"A considerable number there are who have attended every fair ever 
given by the society. There were 54 registered who had attended the 
first fair. 

"One of the most striking evidences that a new generation has sprung 
up to take the place of the early pioneers is the fact that yesterday for 
the first time in thirty years, the first day of the fair was not celebrated 
as Old Settlers Day. 

"Of the original incorporators of the association, not one is living. Of 
the officers and directors, only one survives. 

"Tuesday started with the biggest first day in the history of the asso- 
ciation, receipts of $1,700 eclipsing last year's totals which were considered 
a record breaker. 

"The Homecoming feature doubtless attracted many. Taken alto- 
gether, it was such a success it will doubtless remain a permanent feature 
of the Atlanta Fair. 

"Wednesday was Automobile Day. Many autos were on the grounds, 
and it was planned to get all machines on the track and parade, but it 
was impossible to get the owners to take part. 

"Also a new feature was the judging of a herd of six dairy cattle by 
teams of three boys from the four counties." 

The tail grounds were used for many and varied programs through 
the years. The colored citizens of Atlanta and vicinity celebrated the 
twelfth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation Wednesday, Sep- 













tember 22, 1875 and had a grand old-style barbecue to which everyone 
was invited. Hon. Shelby M. Cullom delivered the main address, with 
Rogers' Brass Band of Springfield furnishing the music. The C. & A. 
Railroad carried passengers for one fair and one-fifth. Illinois Midland 
Railroad carried passengers from Decatur and Peoria to Atlanta and 
return for one-half fare. 

Many big political rallies were held on the grounds. In 1908, Gov. 
Yates was the speaker, with a barbecue as a feature of the day. Eleven 
beeves, averaging 850 pounds dressed, were cooked by steam by a steam 
engine forced into a specially erected building. 

Fraternal orders held all-day meetings, with programs, drills and 
basket dinners the attractions. 

During Music Week of May, 1926, the grade schools put on an oper- 
etta, "Fairy Queen," before a packed amphitheatre. 

From a Fair Book of 1928, in a foreword, "To The People," we read: 

"In presenting our 68th annual premium list to our friends and pa- 
trons, the management renews its pledge for a clean fair in every respect, 
and invites the people to come, bring their families and dinners, meet and 
mingle with their neighbors and friends under pleasurable and unobjec- 
tionable surroundings, see the many interesting exhibitions, and enjoy 
themselves generally. Our motto: 'A Bigger and Better Fair," is still in 

"When the present board of directors took over the management of 
the fair, the association was $9,500 in debt. This debt has been reduced 
to $6,500, with all interest paid, and all obligations paid in full. Besides 
that, the grandstand has been built at a total cost of $2,800, the ground 
wired for electricity at a cost of several hundred dollars, the barns have 
been repainted, the grounds have been tiled, and many other improve- 
ments made, and all this during a period when the agricultural situation 
surrounding us has been in a state of depression. In view of the above 
facts, we believe that with improved conditions and with the general help 
and boosting of our citizens, the debt can soon be lifted." 

The weather for 1928 seemed ideal and attendance was very good. 
Yet at the close of the fair, the management was unable to pay all their 
premiums by $1,650, which was advanced by friends to make payments 
in full. It was decided, therefore, to sell all property and clear the in- 
dness. On January 20, 1930, the real estate was sold to the People's 
Rank for $6,384.50 and the buildings to individuals for $2,367.95. This 
was sufficient to pay all indebtedness of the society if the $1,650 he not 
considered as indebtedness. 

This sale constituted the last gesture of this time honored organiza- 
tion, and not a few present breathed a sigh of regret as they saw the 
property pass into other hands and realized the Atlanta Union Central 

Agricultural Association was no more. 



The citizens of At Ian, a have always prided themselves upon the prog- 
ressiveness of their public schools. No pains have been spared to keep 
them up to a standard of the highest excellence, and from the inception of 
the city in 1853, the Atlanta schools, in point of efficiency, have not been 
excelled in the county. In 1853, the first school building in Atlanta, called 
the Seminary, was erected on the southwest corner of the present school 
site. It was chartered in 1855 and was non-denominational. The first 
board of trustees was Samuel Bevan, Lemuel Foster, James Tuttle, A. C. 
Rankin and R. T. Gill. 

The charter conferred upon the trustees full power to confer Academic 
degrees, to regulate the course of study, to appoint teachers, make by- 
laws, to erect additional buildings and to purchase grounds not to exceed 
ten acres. Upon the approval of the stockholders, the trustees had the 
power to convert the school into a high school, which was later done. The 
stock was twenty dollars per share, each share being entitled to one vote. 
Stockholders were liable to a tax of one dollar on each share. 

In may, 1856, there were 137 enrolled. There were three departments 
in the school: primary, intermediate and high. In addition to Reading, 
Writing and Spelling, there were five classes in Arithmetic, two in Alge- 
bra, three in Geography, one in Philosophy, one in Latin and one in 

Atlanta was incorporated as a city in 1869, and the schools were reor- 
ganized under the state school law as graded schools of the city. The 
district was enlarged to include one mile each way from town, and a board 
of directors was elected to assume entire control of the schools. In 1870, 
the old Seminary building was found inadequate for the accommodation 
of the school population, and measures were taken to erect a larger 
building. The old building was removed to the corner of the lot and used 
until the new one was completed when it was moved to the farm of 
Augustus Reise, now the Dunham farm at the west edge of Atlanta. 

The building erected in 1870 was three stories in height above the 
basement and contained ten school rooms, a spacious hall and an office. 
It was surmounted by a cupola, in which a large four-dialed clock was 
placed. The clock cost $800 and the sum was raised by contributions. 
The contract price of the building was $24,485, to which $500 was added 
afterwards. The entire cost of the building, clock and furnishings was 

This building was destroyed by fire in the summer of 1908. Undaunted 
by this disaster, a structure was erected in its stead, which not only far 
surpassed its predecessor, but was one of the largest and best equipped 


buildings in the state. It is two stories high and constructed of vitrified 
brick with stone trimmings and a slate roof, the brick being of a dark 
chocolate color. The contrad price of the edifice was about $40,000, and 
the additional expense of plumbing and furnishings increased the cost to 
within the neighborhood of $60,000. Few cities of the size of Atlanta in 
the state could boast of so magnificent a school building at that time. 
School was first opened in the new building September 6, 1909. 

In 1919, it was decided to incorporate more of the territory around 
Atlanta into a separate high school district. This district, No. 401, was 
organized on August 2, 1919 and comprised 35 % sections in Atlanta and 
Eminence townships. It was the first community high school district 
organized in Logan County. Thus in the fall of 1920, Atlanta Community 



The Old School Building 


EL 4 


High School opened for the first time. The first board of education in- 
cluded Dr. Maskel Lee, O. E. Johnson, James I. McKown, Ray E. Thomp- 
son and Fred S. Zollars. 

The school continued to operate in the grade school building and 
rented space from District No. 301 until November, 1935. In that year, 
an election was held to select, purchase a site and build an addition to the 
high school. It was agreed that the High School would build the new 
addition: three classrooms and combination auditorium and gymnasium. 
This was done with the assistance of WPA labor and a $15,000 grant from 
the government. The total cost was about $40,000. Henceforth, the whole 
building and all real estate was the property of both districts, 301 and 401, 
with both sharing in the cost of maintenance. The new building was 
dedicated on Nov. 13, 1936. 

Prior to the building of this addition, it was necessary to use the facili- 
ties of Murphy Hall for plays, basketball games and year-end activities. 
It was a distinct asset to have these rooms attached to the building with 
showers and dressing rooms at hand. Running to the City Hall for a quick 
shower was no longer necessary for the basketball boys. 

Additions to the school property include the acquisition of an excellent 
athletic field, two blocks north of the schoolhouse in 1940. In 1946, the 
school purchased the west half of the block, north of the school, for the 
purpose of creating an all weather playground. The street between the 
two blocks was closed to give added space and safety. A dwelling adjacent 
to the school was purchased in 1949 for use of the school superintendent. 
Additions and changes to the building to make possible a luncheon pro- 
gram were made in 1951. The old gymnasium floor was raised to the 
level of the adjoining halls and the room converted into a cafeteria. The 
kitchens were installed in the old Home Economics room. The last addi- 
tion to the school system was a bus garage, which was completed in May, 
1951, to the north of the main building and east of the playground. This 
houses the five buses which transport the students to and from school to 
their homes and to school activities out of town. 

In 1947, it seemed expedient to consolidate the grade schools in the 
district and surrounding area. An election was held May 23 of that year, 
and the following grade schools were incorporated into District No. 301: 
District 23, Clear Creek; District 24, New Castle; District 25, Hoblit; 
District 301, Atlanta Grade; District 53, Rose Hill; District 55, Walnut 
Row; District 56, Eminence; District 58, Hazel Dell. That fall three 
buses were purchased to transport students to the school building in town. 

A law was passed by the state legislature on July 1, 1947 for the 
creation of Unit School Districts, so the Atlanta school districts were 
again reorganized and Unit 20 was created on December 11, 1948. This 
combined Districts 301 and 401, plus some other territory, principally in 
Eminence and Oran townships. The new Unit School was set up to be 
operated by a seven-man board, which was as follows: L. H. Dunham, 


president; DeWitt Yeast, secretary; R. L. Ijams, V. B. Bateman, Paul 
Gordon, J. Neil Rice and John A. Hoblit. 

The first free private school for handicapped children in Logan 
County was set up in Atlanta in the fall of 1927 and was operated as a 
part of the school system. The school was conducted in a regulation 
school room, set up in the homes. The school was discontinued in 1935. 
In 1933, the students of the private school edited a school paper, contain- 
ing notes and news about the High School. This paper was taken over 
later by high school student body and has since been published as the 

The class of 1919 published the school's first year book, entitled 
Atlanta High School. In 1922, under the direction of Bertha Bridges, 
Principal of the High School, the first Atalanta was issued by the Senior 
Class. Since that time, the Senior Class of each year has published an 
annual, containing news and pictures of the school, with records of the 
activities of the year, as well as a listing of the Alumni at intervals. 

Atlanta has always held her own in athletics, especially good records 
having been made in football and track in the earlier years. Probably 
the most impressive record in Atlanta school athletic history was made 
by the track teams in the Corn Belt Athletic meets in the early years of 
the century. Competing against Springfield, Decatur, Bloomington, Lin- 
coln and other large high schools, Atlanta won meets and set records in 
individual events which were never broken during the existence of the 
Corn Belt association. During the last few years, the main sports have 
been basketball and baseball. These sports are well supported by the 
Pep Club and the citizens of the community. 

Through the years, an interest has been taken in dramatics and the 
literary field. Various organizations sponsored these activities, the most 
active having been the Literary Adelphi and Belles Lettres societies, both 
of which ceased to exist in 1922. Debating, Declamation and Oratorical 
contests were entered and many honors won. The Atlanta High School 
won more oratorical prizes at the various meets of the Corn Belt Oratorical 
Association than any other school in the association. The late William 
Kephart also won first place at the state oratorical contest at Urbana 
in 1902. 

In music the schools always have ranked high. In 1921-22, Prof. H. 
O. Merry was hired to instruct the students in instrumental music, and he 
was followed by instructors, who maintained the high standards which he 
set. Miss Adelle McClure was engaged in 1923 to direct vocal in both the 
grade and high schools. Over the years, Atlanta school musicians have 
been highly successful in winning awards in district and state contests. 

The Girls Athletic Association of Atlanta High School was organized 
during the year of 1947-48. Prior to that time there was no full time 
girls physical education instructor, though there had been an organization 


for one year under the direction of Miss Kimball in 1939-40. Each year 
the club selects one of its members to receive the Sportsmanship Award. 
This trophy is on display in the school trophy case. 

It is worthy of note that Atlanta has been able to produce so many 
of her own teachers. Many of them have graduated from the school, 
gone elsewhere for additional training and then returned to help educate 
their hometown children. Notable in this list are the late Miss Minnie 
Nollen, who spent fifty years instructing the beginners, and Miss Cora 
Carlock, who is finishing her 42nd year in the system this year. Many 
others have enviable records in their faithful and loving service to the 


The Atlanta Chapter of the Future Homemakers of America was or- 
ganized in 1945 and was affiliated with the state and national organiza- 
tions on October 29, 1945, with 41 members. The first officers were: 
Jean Hout, president; Wilma Baldwin, vice-president; Dorothy Larson, 
secretary; Marilyn Brandt, treasurer; Joan Wiseman, historian; Wilma 
Baldwin, song leader; Gilberta Gordon, club reporter; Melba Miller, 
chairman of scrap book; Mrs. H. L. Wiseman, chapter mother; Miss Marian 
Ioder, chapter adviser. 


The present charter was granted to Atlanta Chapter, Future Farmers 
of America, on April 23, 1947. Twenty-six members were enrolled. The 
officers for 1946-47 were: Eugene Craft, president; Harold Brooks, vice- 
president; John Horn, secretary; Duane Quisenberry, treasurer; Vaughn 
Craft, reporter. Brian Grant was the chapter adviser. 


The Atlanta Patron Teachers Association was founded on December 
13, 1918, with a view toward promoting a better understanding between 
the teachers and the community. Mrs. H. W. McClure was the first 
president. Included in the membership were many patrons who were 
neither teachers nor parents of pupils. "Cooperation" was adopted as 
its slogan, and for 36 years, it has been guided by that principle, both 
within the organization and in its relationship with other community or- 

Recognition of teachers' faithful service and a sympathetic under- 
standing of teachers' problems rank high among its objectives. Credit 
must be given the Association for making Atlanta school conscious. By 
being attuned to the needs of the school, it has in no small way helped 
develop the excellent reputation which our schools have enjoyed through 
the years. 

In 1928, the Association joined the Federation and was chartered the 
Atlanta Parent-Teacher Association. It is now a member of the National 
Congress of Parents and Teachers, with a membership of over 7,000,000 — 
the largest organization in the world, whose sole purpose is for the best 
interest of children. 


The following show some of the local accomplishments: purchased 
encyclopedia, reference and World Books, music and records, band uni- 
forms, new piano, record player, public address system, playground equip- 
ment and repairs, scales, dishes, Christmas treats, attendance trophies, 
basketball suits, furnished first aid room, immunization, health measures, 
individually and for the entire school. Donations have been made to each 
room, the polio fund, Girl Scouts, Atlanta Public Library for redecorat- 
ing and Red Cross. 

P. T. A. sponsored the first Homecoming, with its parades and suppers. 
Milk and cocoa were served the children before the Association launched 
the present hot lunch program. Delegates have been sent to the District 
and state conventions. Mothersinger groups have been organized. The 
community has enjoyed excellent programs at the monthly meetings. 

Funds for these projects were obtained from carnivals, bazaars, sup- 
pers, a rummage sale and scrap drives, to which the community has al- 
ways given its whole hearted cooperation. 

The accomplishments of leaders and committees have overlapped 
through the years, so as to give a continuity of purpose to the organi- 
zation: namely, the welfare of the child. 


A meeting was held May 5, 1922 at the school building to form an 
Alumni Association of the Atlanta High School. Previous attempts at 
such an organization had failed. The group decided to hold an initial 
banquet on June 2, 1922 and form such an organization, and committees 
for the banquet were appointed. There was an attendance of 116 at the 
banquet, which was held at the Methodist church. Frank S. Bevan was 
chosen chairman and M. M. Hoose, secretary, of the organization meeting. 
Those present decided to hold a similar meeting each year, and the fol- 
lowing officers were chosen to take care of all business and arrangements 
for the next year: President, Mrs. B. R. Hawley; vice-president, Mrs. Lida 
Hardie Miller; secretary-treasurer, P. A. Crihfield; corresponding secre- 
tary, Miss Eleanor Barnes. A membership fee of fifty cents per year 
was voted, and any graduate of the high school was eligible for member- 
ship. Credit for this successful banquet and meeting was given to Mrs. 
Hawley and her large force of assistants. 

The banquet has been held each year since 1922. It has become the 
custom to pay special tribute to the 50-year graduates, as well as those 
who have been alumni for ten and twenty-five years. The annual banquet 
has become a homecoming occasion for graduates from far and near, for 
they are assured of meeting many friends and acquaintances of their 
schoolhood days. 




The Atlanta Baptist Church, the oldest continuous church organiza- 
tion in Logan County, was established in 1830, under the name of the 
Big Grove Baptist Church at the house of Hiram Bowman, its first pastor. 
It was situated in what was known as the Big Grove timber, on the Kick- 
apoo Creek in what is now Atlanta Township. Michael Mann, another 
pioneer Baptist preacher, assisted in the organization. The original mem- 
bership numbered fourteen, of which John Hoblit was chosen deacon and 
Samuel Hoblit, clerk. Messrs. Bowman and Mann were old school Bap- 
tists who were vigorously opposed to the missionary movement as well as 
the paying of salaries to pastors and the church was organized in accord- 
ance with their views. 

In August of 1838, Mr. Bowman was succeeded as pastor by J. D. 
Newell and at the same meeting where Mr. Newell was selected a resolu- 
tion was passed that "the church agree that her members shall have their 
liberty of conscience respecting assisting their minister or for missionary 
purposes if they choose." In 1841 the church adopted new articles of 
faith, among which was the following: "We believe it the duty of members 
of the church to contribute to the support of the ministry according to 
their ability." 

The baptist Church 

The town of Atlanta was laid out in 1853 and by 1855 had become a 
sprightly town. The inhabitants of New Castle moved to Atlanta, aban- 
doning the old settlement and the New Castle Baptist Society thereupon 
disposed of the old meeting house at New Castle and in 1855 erected a 
new church edifice in Atlanta, changing the name of the society to the 
Atlanta Baptist church. The new building was 48 feet by 60 feet in 
dimensions, with a gallery opposite the pulpit. The trustees of the church 
at this time were Elias Harness, Samuel Bevan, Jerome B. Tenney, 
Samuel Hoblit and George M. Angell. In the spring of 1856, Rev. E. J. 
Thomas became the regular pastor. 

On New Year's morning of 1872, the church erected in 1855 was 
destroyed by fire. From 1872 until 1886 the congregation held services 
in the Congregational and Cumberland Presbyterian churches. In July 
of 1885 the contract for erecting a new church building was let. This 
building was completed in 1886 and was dedicated March 21, 1886. The 
entire cost oi the new building, 36 feet by 50 feet, with an addition 16 
f ee t by 48 feet on the west, including ten memorial windows, furnishings 
and furnace amounted to $4,146. Church services in this building con- 
tinued until the year 1941. Later the church disbanded and the church 
building was sold at auction in 1948. Subsequently it was torn down 
and removed. The church edifice was located on Fourth Street, on the 
site now occupied by the B. F. Twomey home. 


The Atlanta Christian Church was organized in 1855 in the Baptist 
Chapel where meetings were held the first year on Lord's Day afternoons. 

The organization was made under the direction of George W. Minier 
with 32 charter members who were Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Ewing, Mr. and 
Mrs. Andrew Wright, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Judy, Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson 
Howser, Mr. and Mrs. James Shores, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Howser, Mr. and 
Mrs. J. P. Howser, Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson Britt, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. 
Dills, Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose Holland, Mr. and Mrs. John Miller, Mr. and 
Mrs. Calvin Riley, Mr. and Mrs. George Dyer, Dr. and Mrs. Arteburn, 
Mrs. Dr. J. B. Tenney. Mrs. Sallie Strong, Mrs. Gill and Mrs. Christenson. 

The first elders were C. F. Ewing and Andrew Wright; the first dea- 
cons were Jacob Judy and Jefferson Howser; James Shores was clerk. 
The first minister was W. M. Guilford who was at that time principal of 
the public schools. 




The first building was erected in 1856 and later there were several 
additions. The Harness Memorial Library dedicated Nov. 7, 1897 being 
the most important. This first building served the congregation until 
removed to give place for the present structure. Under the leadership of 
Rev. R. H. Newton agitation for a modern building to serve the needs of 
the Church and Bible School was started. Early in 1912 plans were 
accepted by the congregation for a completely furnished structure to cost 
$20,000 or more. 

Work progressed rapidly and on November 9, 1913 the new church 
was dedicated. However, the cost of the new building turned out to be 
$30,000 instead of $20,000. 

The membership is approximately 500. 

The Old Christian Church 


&^'o%. i\Puf Of^u^huu Cyu4#£L«. y}^^ 

■''■„,' - y > 

The Present Christian Church 


A group known as the Christian Science Society was organized about 
1910 and held regular meetings and Sunday School in the Modern Wood- 
man Hall. There were about twenty members. 

Later the society disbanded and all funds on hand were sent to the 
Mother Church. 



The Atlanta Congregational Church was one of the earliest Congre- 
gational Churches in Illinois, having been organized in 1840 in the Mt. 
Hope settlement. The church was moved to Atlanta as soon as that town 
was platted in 1853, being probably the first church society holding serv- 
ices in the new town. A new church edifice was erected in 1859 and on 
the evening of July 4th, before the building was seated, an ice cream 
social was held in the church. Abraham Lincoln attended and was pre- 
sented a cake. H. W. Cobb was pastor at this time. 

The church building was a two story structure. The pastor and his 
family occupied the first floor and the religious services were held on the 
second floor. 

The society has been inactive since 1885. The church had no prospect 
for better times, as the society numbered but about twenty members. The 
building was then occupied by the Cumberland Presbyterians. 

Later the building was moved to the A. E. Barnes place at the north 
edge of Atlanta where it still stands. 

The Congregational Church. About 1934 

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church 


The Atlanta Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized about 
1856; but the denomination, having three or four houses of worship within 
a few miles of town, no building was erected in Atlanta until 1866. Rev. 
Joseph Roach was pastor at this time. 

This structure, located at the corner of Fourth and Race Streets, was 
used by them when they had regular services until January 1880 when it 
was leased to the Baptists. They used it until January 1885, when the 
Cumberland Presbyterians resumed its use. The last of November, 1885 
it was burned in some unknown manner and the society rented the Con- 
gregational Church until the spring of 1886. Elders were James Adams, 
William Roach, and I. S. Chenoweth; trustees, S. H. Nolder and James 
Adams. An attractive brick building was erected later. This edifice was 
located west of the Pennsylvania Railroad Depot. 

The church was later referred to as the Presbyterian Church, al- 
though according to Mrs. Eugenia Horrom Lee, who was a member of 
the church, it was always a Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The 
membership became so small that the congregation disbanded. 

The building was sold in 1919. E. Blinn Ransdell and his father, the 
late Grant Ransdell, bought it and took the bricks to the farm of E. Blinn 
Ransdell north of Atlanta. They were used in building the house which 
is the home of the E. Blinn Ransdells. 



Methodism in Atlanta dates back to the earliest history of the town. 
When the Chicago and Alton railroad was built in 1853 the new town 
grew like a mushroom. People flocked in and many of them were of the 
Methodist faith. A movement to organize a church was instituted in 
1854, the first meeting being held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. James 
Cantrall, who lived on Railroad Street in the house now owned and oc- 
cupied by Mrs. Theodore Williams. This building was operated by Mr. 
Cantrall as a boarding house and hotel and was Atlanta's first public 

In the year 1854 the annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church appointed Rev. James Newbegin preacher in charge of the Waynes- 
ville circuit which contained the following charges: Waynesville, Maddox 
School House, Bell's School House, Rock Creek, Mt. Hope, Atlanta, Funk's 
Grove and Hittle's Grove. At the time of Mr. Newbegin's second appoint- 
ment in Atlanta he preached in the hotel of James M. Cantrall. After 

The Old Methodist Church 

The Present Methodist Church 

this meeting a class of twenty-five members was formed and James Can- 
trail was named leader. After making about four rounds on the circuit 
Rev. Newbegin became dissatisfied and, after being released from his 
charge, returned to England, his native land. 

Rev. John M. Preshaw came for the remainder of the conference year. 
During the winter months he preached in the Seminary, later known as 
Hon. A. Reise's barn. 

On January 22, 1856 the trustees resolved to let the contract for 
furnishing the material and building a house for $2715.00. 

On the first Sabbath in February, 1857 the church was dedicated 
and on June 8, 1857 the trustees received the building from the con- 
tractors. There were just forty-four members. 

For more than fifty years the old church served as a place of wor- 
ship. It was repaired and partially rebuilt on several occasions but the 
main auditorium remained about the same as when built in 1857. The 
membership felt the need of a more adequate church building to accom- 
modate the services and various activities of a growing organization. 

At the third quarterly conference, May 1913, Pastor F. M. Harry was 
authorized to secure funds for the construction of a new church. By 
December of that year $10,000 had been pledged and plans were adopted. 
April 1, 1914 the contract was let and work started. 

The old church building was sold to Motz and Ary, who moved it to 
a lot on East Vine Street where it still stands. 

On Sunday, February 21, 1915, the church was formally dedicated 
with Bishop McDowell, Doctor B. F. Shipp and Rev. J. C. Nate as guests. 
Dedication day, an all day service, ended with the church free of all debt. 

The building is still beautiful and the membership is growing in 
numbers. There are now over three hundred members. 



An African Methodist Society was organized in Atlanta in 1875, and 
a church was erected by the society in 1876. The trustees at the time of 
the building of the church were Daniel Fitch and William Escue. The 
Society is now inactive. 


For many years the members of the Presbyterian Church worshipped 
in a hall rented for the purpose. In 1868 they completed their house of 
worship, a comfortable brick structure which, unfortunately, cracked and 
was considered unsafe. The only two regular pastors the society had 
were Rev. Crissman and Rev. A. Bartholomew. The building was repaired 
and for a few years monthly services were held. It is difficult to find 
information concerning this church organization, but one of our older 
citizens states that he remembers when the group was active in Atlanta. 


The Atlanta United Pentecostal Church was organized about seven 
years ago. Rev. Roy Simpkins of Waynesville was the first Pastor. The 
congregation met in the building next to the Drug Store at the corner of 
Vine and Railroad Streets. Later the members bought the Texaco Station 
and Cafe on old Route 66 and remodeled it, making a church and living 
quarters for the pastor and his family. Services are now held here. The 
present membership is small. 



Catholic services were held in private homes in Atlanta as early as 
1856, shortly after the establishment of the city. 

In 1860, Father Martin of the Lincoln parish, began to attend the 
parish here as a mission, celebrating mass once each month. In 1880 the 
parish as a mission was transferred to the Elkhart parish. 

The present church edifice was erected in 1881 at a cost of $1,200.00 
under the ministration of Father M. Reynolds, rector of the Elkhart 
parish, who was holding services at Atlanta. 


Father W. J. Drummy of Elkhart became officiating priest in August, 

At the present time services continue, children receiving instruction 
each Saturday morning; mass is celebrated each Sunday morning. 

St. Mary's Church 


Murphy Hall was erected in 1878 as the result of the temperance 
movement, it being named for Father Murphy, the founder of the Father 
Murphy Total Abstinence Society. 

On Sunday, October 21, 1877, the Murphy temperance movement was 
inaugurated in Atlanta by Dr. Conway. Early in the history, the project 
of building a grand hall for the temperance meetings was mentioned. In 
the latter part of December, the project took definite shape, and a sub- 
scription stock list was drawn up and circulated. Only a few days' can- 
vassing made the building of the hall an assured fact. To Frank Hoblit 
and P. R. Marquart, more than to any other two men, were the people 
indebted for the success of the undertaking. On February 22, the founda- 
tion was laid and from that time on the progress was rapid. 

The hall was a frame building, 90 feet long and 48 feet wide, with 
self supporting roof. A stage, 20 feet deep, was built across the rear and 
raised 4% feet high, giving room for dressing rooms and kitchen below. 
Four windows on each side and two in front gave light and ventilation, 
and there were four chimneys to accommodate as many stoves for heating. 

The building stood on Railroad street, between Vine and Elm, fronting 
the C. & A. railroad tracks. 

The directors met on April 15 and set the date of the dedication for 
May 5, 1878. Invitations were sent to all the temperance people in the 
county to meet with them, and the audience on that day numbered almost 
1,400. The Hon. A. Brown Bunn, of Decatur, was the speaker of the day. 

It was in Murphy Hall that many of our people made their first 
appearance before the public in school entertainments. It was here that 
hundreds of our young folks gave their commencement orations as a 
requirement for graduation; it was here that Flora DeVoss and her dra- 
matic company and Callahan's Comedians entertained the Atlanta Fair 
week crowds; that Church's Minstrels packed the house; that young folks 
danced and roller skated; that the churches held their bazaars; the women 
served big election day dinners; and amateur thespians trod the boards 
in home talent plays. Here, too, were held the political rallies in the days 
when political rallies were taken seriously, and after the smoke of battle 
had cleared, the results were given over a special telegraph wire to the 
hall to those awaiting the outcome of the election. With the rise of 
basketball as a high school indoor sport, the old hall became the scene 
of some hectic encounters. 


Murphy Hall 

Probably best remembered of the managers of the hall is the late 
Dr. B. I. Pumpelly, who brought some fine attractions here with the winter 
entertainment courses and the road stock companies. In connection with 
his management, many of the older people will remember Addison Carter 
and his wife, Maggie, who acted as janitors. 

At a meeting of the stockholders and directors of the Atlanta National 
Union Temperance Association, held April 5, 1946, it was the concensus 
of opinion that the old hall had outlived its usefulness and would be a 
liability rather than an asset to the community in the future. It was 
voted to sell the building at auction. The decision to remove the building 
was arrived at with reluctance, but there seemed to be no other practical 

The building had been used as a warehouse by the Mountjoy Hybrid 
Seed Co. during the last years of its existence. 

The Murphy Hall building was sold at public auction, Saturday after- 
noon, May 11, 1946. The successful bidders at $2925 were George F. and 
Frank Snyder, of Decatur. 

The site is now occupied by the Atlanta Food Locker, 
Logan County Cooperative Food Locker Co. 


built by the 


Atlanta suffered severely from fires in the early days. Most of the 
buildings were of wood, and once a fire started, there was little chance 
of extinguishing it. With the establishment of a city waterworks system 
in 1892, there was a better opportunity afforded to combat fire, and a 
four-wheel cart with ladders and leather water buckets was provided for 
use of the volunteer firemen. This was drawn by the firemen. Two- 
wheel hose carts were also drawn by hand, but in later years were hooked 
to automobiles. About 1913, a chemical tank was purchased. This was 
also mounted on wheels and at first was pulled by hand. Among the early 
volunteer fire fighters were Ed (Jack) Conklin, Frank Cheek, Horace 
Houghtling, Ralph Welch, John Keene, Jesse Knowles, Asa Coffman and 
Ira Bowers. 

The Atlanta Fire Department was formed September 24, 1926, and a 
fire truck was bought by the city. The following officers were chosen: 
Neil Rice, chief; Clarence Hieronymus, assistant chief; Walter Cheek, 
first captain; Harold Mason, second captain; Paul Schmidt, first engineer; 
Vaughn Harkreader, second engineer; Raymond Downs, third engineer; 
Ralph Demling, fourth engineer; M. M. Hoose, secretary. Other members 
of the department were Otto Goeman, Leo Hitchell, Lee Irvin, Elmer 
Taylor, W. A. Hieronymus, Albert Fulk, R. D. Stetson, Harold Douglas, 
J. N. Hayter, Loy Brandt and Clarence Black. 

The City of Atlanta makes annual appropriations for the upkeep of 
the department and in other ways has maintained the closest collaboration 
in order to keep up the efficiency of the department. During the early 
years of the organization the firemen added to their available funds by 
promoting Firemen's Balls. 

A fire District for the protection of the surrounding territory was 
formed in 1949. A modern fire truck was bought by the district, and 
although title to the truck is in the district, and the city is not a part of 
the district, the truck is manned and maintained by the Atlanta Fire De- 
partment and is available for use within the City of Atlanta. Ralph 
Brown, Henry Armbrust and Allen Applegate are directors of the Fire 

The Atlanta Fire Department has an excellent record, and statistics 
show that its fire losses in the city are among the lowest in the state. 

Of the original members of the Fire Department, only four are still 
active — Neil Rice, Harold Mason, Paul Schmidt and Elmer Taylor. 



Agitation for electric lights in Atlanta was started in 1895, when 
Robinson & Son, of Girard, applied for a franchise to install and operate 
an electric light plant in Atlanta. At a special election held Monday, 
September 9, 1895, the people of Atlanta declared themselves in favor 
of electric lights by a vote of 106 to 51. A franchise was granted to 
Edward M. Burnett and John C. Robinson at a city council meeting in 
October, and work was commenced at once on the building to house the 
electric light plant. Street lights were turned on in Atlanta for the first 
time on Saturday night, February 1, 1896. A meeting had been arranged 
by Alderman Charles Haise to celebrate the event, but due to a broken 
circuit, it was nearly midnight before the lights could be turned on. How- 
ever, the coming of electric lights to Atlanta was celebrated at a meeting 
on May 9, 1896. 

Service at first was limited and a signal warning that the lights 
would be turned off at 11 o'clock broke up social gatherings and cut short 
the romancing of Atlanta's young people at an early hour. 

With the change from direct to alternating current in 1914, electricity 
in Atlanta assumed greater importance as a means of furnishing power. 
In 1915, the lines were extended to McLean, the farmers furnishing a free 
right-of-way through their lands. 

The Robinson family disposed of the system to the Central Public 
Service Corporation in November, 1925. The Lincoln branch of this com- 
pany was known as the Illinois Public Utility Co. The operating company 
at the present time is the Central Illinois Electric and Gas Co. 


Atlanta's first telephone line was built by Dr. C. O. Burke. It was 
about 15 miles long and connected Armington and Atlanta and was ex- 
tended to the home of W. H. Wright in the New Kentucky neighborhood. 
Intermediate stations were at the George Albright and J. I. Mountjoy 
homes. Shortly after the first line was put in operation, Dr. Banks, an- 
other Atlanta physician, built a line to the Gold Springs neighborhood, 
west of Atlanta, and in 1898, Dr. Burke added a line to the farms of Albert 
Barnes and Charles Atchison, southeast of town. 

ks the telephone grew in importance and the business was expanded, 
Dr. Burke sold his system to the Palmer-Darnall Electric Co., and Dr. 
Banks disposed of his lines to the farmers of Eminence township. For 
years, the two systems competed for Atlanta's patronage, and many busi- 
ness men and other residents were subscribers of both companies. Finally, 
lie Baker Telephone Co., successor to the Palmer-Darnall company, 
)ought the Eminence company and the two systems were merged. The 
x3aker Telephone Co. was succeeded by the Illinois Commercial Telephone 
Co. and it is now known as the General Telephone Co. of Illinois. 



The first Rural Fr Delivery route in Logan county was established 
out of Atlanta, December 4, 1899. The carrier was A. E. Mountjoy, and 
the route served 105 families. The route covered the north half of Emi- 
nence township. The second and third routes in the county were also 
out of Atlanta. John E. Larison was the first carrier on Route 2 and 
Milam Perkey on Route 3. The three routes operated out of Atlanta for 
many years, but as the roads were improved and better means of trans- 
portation became available, one route was dropped and the territory added 
to the other two. At the present time, the local carriers cover a distance 
of about 45 miles each. 


A talk by Dr. W. H. Gardner, of Paris, France, was given at the 
Christian Church in Atlanta on March 11, 1917, explaining the organiza- 
tion and working of the Red Cross Society. The Atlanta people became 
interested and a meeting was held on March 28th to initiate the local 
chapter. Mayor J. R. Fawyer became temporary chairman, Mrs. M. F. 
Watt, Secretary, M. F. Watt, Treasurer, Mrs. J. R. Patton, membership 
chairman of the entire community, with Miss Ella Boosinger, Mrs. C. O. 
Burke, and Mrs. F. L. Sumner named chairman of their respective wards. 
On April 2nd, the following ten Charter members were listed: Mrs. J. R. 
Patton, Mrs. C. O. Burke, Mrs. Hattie Medberry, Mrs. F. L. Sumner, Mrs. 
R. G. Bevan, Mrs. M. F. Watt, Mrs. Leo Hitchell, Rev. J. C. Ellenwood, 
Dr. J. R. Fawver, and M. F. Watt. Meetings were held each Monday 
evening in the schoolhouse, with speakers, music and reports of the boys 
in service. By April 24th, the membership had increased to 149, the per- 
manent Society was organized. Its officers were: Dr. Maskel Lee, chair- 
man; Mrs. C. O. Burke, vice-chairman; M. F. Watt, treasurer; Mrs. M. F. 
Watt, secretary; Mrs. J. R. Patton, membership chairman. 

Sewing, surgical dressings, and knitting were started. The local chap- 
ter furnished the material to the workers. This material was purchased 


with funds secured from donations of loyal citizens and later by money 
earned by various benefits. The working-committees were set up as fol- 
lows: Mrs. G. L. Church, sewing and hospital supplies; Mrs. Nannie Shores, 
purchasing committee; Mrs. Edna Applegate, membership; Mrs. M. F. 
Watt, publicity; Mrs. Harriet Judy, Mrs. Minnie McKown, Mrs. Maude 
Shotwell, Ways and Means; Mrs. R. D. Stetson, citing; Mrs. E. G. Rans- 
dell and Mrs. T. C. Harry, inspection and passing. 

A room was set up for daily work and instruction with Mrs. Church 
in charge. Helpers were appointed to assist each day of the week. The 
country school districts also conducted weekly work rooms at their re- 
spective schools. 

By July, the membership had risen to 235, and the whole community 
was working together in this great society. With the beginning of school, 
the work rooms were moved to the McKown building, and the various 
units divided. Mrs. Church remained general superintendent of work and 
chairman of surgical dressings; Mrs. Forgy, sewing; Miss Thomas, knitting; 
and Mrs. R. D. McKown, packing and mailing. In October, the work 
rooms were moved to the Library. By November, the group was so large 
that the surgical dressings were moved to the new Shores and Ewing 
Garage, while the knitting department remained in the Library. In 
March, 1918, the work room for surgical dressings and sewing was again 
moved, this time to the Knecht building north of Shotwell's Drugstore. 

On January 1, 1918, the Atlanta Knitters led all of Logan County in 
amount of work produced. This was the result of the diligent work done 
by individual knitters and the help of a knitting machine donated by 
Seward Fields. Mrs. James Shores and Mrs. G. L. Church knit the legs 
of the socks on the machine in the evenings. Then Mr. August Wefer 
knit in all the toes and heels for them. His wife finished the work by 
doing all the washing and blocking. 

All members of the Society and other citizens joined forces to secure 
the financial aid necessary to meet the expenses for supplies and fill the 
national quotas for money and finished articles. Individual donations, 
dances, box socials, sale lunches, and many events were put on to raise 
money. Outstanding among these activities were the Barn Warming 
sponsored by the Hoblit Community Club and the Carnival and Pavement 
Dance by the whole community. The Warming of J. W. Hoblit's barn on 
April 24, 1918 netted $1000 for the Red Cross Fund. On August 27, 1918, 


the Red Cross Carnival was held in downtown Atlanta. An auction of 
donated livestock and farm produce was held at 3 p. m. and brought in 
$2350.00. A dinner was served in the Murphy Hall beginning at 5 p. m. 
and continued until 11 p. m. While this was going on, a Midway was 
conducted on the Library lawn, followed by a grand march and street 
dance. When the final reports were in, it was found that this united 
effort by the community, directed by competent leaders, had added 
$6472.82 to the treasury. 

The untiring efforts of the chapter were continued as long as there 
was any need for it. When the national emergency was over, the Atlanta 
Chapter found that they had exceeded all quotas asked of them both in 
money and supplies furnished and had a very tidy sum remaining in the 
bank. This money was used in following years to meet local needs of the 
unfortunate and to help in all national emergency calls. There were no 
programs or weekly meetings held after 1920, but the chapter stayed 
active and was available at all times should a need arise. 

In 1939, the chapter lost Dr. Maskel Lee, who had been their faithful 
chairman since the organization in 1917. He was succeeded by Mr. C. H. 
Wright, who is chairman at the present time. 

With the outbreak of World War II, the Atlanta Red Cross again 
rallied to the call. Work committees were appointed with Mrs. G. L. 
Church named General Chairman for a second time. Later, she was suc- 
ceeded by Mrs. O. F. Mountjoy, who served as general chairman and 
chairman of sewing and surgical dressings. Mrs. P. A. Crihfield was her 
assistant and inspector. Mrs. Arthur Applegate served as secretary. The 
knitting was handled by Mrs. Dean Judy, and then jointly by Mrs. R. D. 
Stetson and Mrs. R. G. Wertheim. 

During World War II, the supplies were furnished by the Logan 
County Chapter and all quotas were turned in to them. Atlanta again 
exceeded all quotas. Everyone did his part, and when it was all over 
and the hours of service totaled, it was found that Mrs. D. J. Geach held 
the honor of having put in more hours of work than any one other in- 

Though their efforts have not had the publicity of earlier years, and 
so much emphasis is not placed on local chapters at the present, the At- 
lanta Red Cross is still active and ready to do its full part whenever the 
call is issued. 



The Atlanta Memorial Park District comprises all of Atlanta town- 
ship and approximately the eastern half of Eminence township, an aggre- 
gate of forty-four full sections. It was established by the voters of those 
communities for the purpose of providing a means of maintainance for the 
Atlanta-Eminence Community Memorial building. 

At the same time and at the same voting places a governing board 
consisting of five commissioners was elected. They were Mrs. Harold 
Wiseman, Frank D. Hoblit, Dr. R. L. Ijams of Atlanta township, and Mrs. 
Murrel Miller and Barrett F. Rogers of Eminence township. At their 
organization meeting they elected as president Frank D. Hoblit, to whose 
efforts, more than those of any other one individual, the project owes its 

The Atlanta-Eminence Memorial Building 


A tax rate of not to exceed eighty percent of one mill per dollar of 
the property valuation is levied to provide the means by which the building 
and surroundings are maintained and operated. 

The formation of the park district and the establishment of the Com- 
munity house was the outgrowth of a long-felt need for a gathering place 
and recreational center for the town and surrounding community. The 
decision to provide such a place and dedicate it as a lasting memorial to 
the soldiers of World Wars I and II brought about the wholehearted 
support of practically everyone. 

A fund of $1700 had been raised by popular subscription during World 
War II to build some sort of a memorial, but was not immediately used 
for that purpose. Returning soldiers asked that it be put to some practi- 
cal use; and so the idea of a community Memorial center was born. A 
fund of $5,503 was contributed by the now defunct Murphy Hall associa- 
tion. The Atlanta Woman's Club turned over their building fund of more 
than $1500. Smaller contributions from other civic organizations, and 
very generous ones from individuals brought the building fund up to 

With this amount the board was able to buy the commodious and 
well situated Patton residence. It was restored and remodelled to fit the 
necessities of the community. On the main floor of the house there are 
a good sized auditorium, an attractive parlor, ladies' lounge and a well 
equipped kitchen. 

In the wide hall, occupying the place of honor, is a Memorial plaque 
on which is inscribed the names of all service personnel who went from 
Atlanta and vicinity. There are 173 names for the first war and 283 for 
the second. Eighteen are marked with gold stars. 

On the second floor are the care-takers' quarters, the Legion room 
and the Girl Scout rooms. The basement has recreation rooms and equip- 
ment. In winter months recreation directors have been employed. 

The Boy Scouts have their quarters in the second story of the garage 
at the rear of the building. Here are also rest rooms which serve the 
park. The grounds surrounding these buildings are artistically landscaped. 

The Atlanta Park which adjoins was deeded to the Park District on 
Oct. 1, 1947 and has since been administered and maintained as a part of 
the Community building set-up. 

The Atlanta-Eminence Community Memorial building was turned 
over to the public on Nov. 1, 1947. Governor Lester C. Hunt of Wyoming, 
a former Atlanta boy, gave the dedicatory address. 


The Community Center has now been in operation for five years, and 
has fulfilled the hopes of its instigators. It serves well the whole com- 
munity. It is the home of the American Legion and its Auxiliary, the 
Woman's Club, the Junior Woman's Club, the Rotary Club, the Girl Scouts 
and the Boy Scouts. The Atlanta and Eminence Home Bureaus meet 
there when they desire, as do all other civic organizations. They may 
have the use of the building free of cost, after making proper arrange- 
ments with the caretakers. Private parties are charged a small fee. 

The first secretary of the Park Board was E. B. Ransdell; James Ash 
has served continuously as treasurer. 


The Atlanta Public Park is a part of the city of Atlanta as originally 
platted by its founders, Richard Gill and A. W. Morgan. It is one whole 
block lying between Race and Vine, and Seventh and Eighth Streets. It 
was apparently a gift fyom the founders of the young town to the citizens 
of Atlanta. 

An issue of the Logan County Forum, June 19, 1856 contains an 
account of a "mite society," newly formed, "having as its object the 
important purpose of improving and decorating the city park, and carry- 
ing out other such projects as the society might see fit to sponsor." 

The officers elected were, President A. W. Morgan, Vice president 
Geo. L. Parker, Secretary S. D. Fisher, Treasurer Jeff L. Dunegan; the 
board of Trustees, A. N. Dills, A. K. Martin, R. H. Killen. 

A committee of ten ladies, Mrs. G. L. Parker, Mrs. John Pallady, 
Mrs. G. M. Angell, Mrs. A. K. Martin, Mrs. J. H. Ball, Mrs. S. D. Fisher, 
Misses Belle Tenney, L. Randolph, J. Leonard, and J. Allen, was named 
"to attend to financial matters." Membership fee for the ladies was fifty 
cents and one dollar for the men. Fifty names were enrolled at the first 
meeting and many more were subsequently added. 

The editor of the Forum, S. B. Dugger comments: "Since the only 
objection to our town that any one can have is that it is out on the open 
prairie with no trees to protect it," the mite society should "purchase and 
set out trees on each side of every street in town, commencing on one 
side with one kind of tree, and plant them from one end to the other; 
and another street with another kind and at the corner of each plant a 
good-sized poplar." 

Since many of the large maple and elm trees along our streets and 
those in the park appear to be nearing the century mark, it seems fair 
to assume that his suggestion was adopted. If the "good-sized poplars" 
were planted, they have long since passed into oblivion. 

Although the trees grew well, the park often suffered neglect, and 
was unkempt and weed-grown. Because of the ample facilities for large 
public gatherings, furnished by the Atlanta Fair grounds, the park was not 
often so used. In the days when chautauquas flourished, the tent was 
pitched in the park and the citizens enjoyed the entertainment furnished 
by the Lyceum bureaus. 


An early band-stand, a small wooden structure, graced the park unti) 
the late nineties. In the spring of 1940 a substantial brick and concrete 
bandstand was constructed. It was dedicated on the Fourth of July, the. 
last Fourth of July celebration that has been held in Atlanta. 

The city of Atlanta deeded the park to the Park District on October 1, 
1947. Since that time its affairs have been administered by the Park 
Board. The care-taker of the Community House cares for and polices the 
park. It has become a very pleasant and popular place. Many picnics 
and family reunions are held there. A play-ground and tennis court fur- 
nish recreation for children and teen-agers. In the fall the American 
Legion holds its annual Homecoming festivities there. 


In the month of January 1899 a group of women were invited to the 
home of Mrs. Mary Mix where a club called the "Fortnightly" was or- 
ganized. The membership was limited to forty, and the dues were twenty- 
five cents per year. The chief aim of the club was to develop literary 
taste and culture and the first book purchased was "When Knighthood 
Was in Flower." This book was passed among the members who enjoyed 
it and discussed it and then gave it to the Library. 

In June of 1900 the Club voted to change its name to "The Atlanta 
Woman's Club" and the first president was Mrs. C. C. Sater. A little 
later the Club dues were raised to a dollar; the Club joined the General 
Federation and sent two members to St. Louis as representatives or dele- 
gates. Also a rental shelf was established at the Library in October of 
1924, with an initial gift of one hundred dollars. The limit on the number 
of members was rescinded. 

Feeling that the Club needed a meeting place of its own a building 
fund was started and grew to quite a goodly sum. In the spring of 1947 
the Club voted to turn this fund, more than fifteen hundred dollars, 
over to those in charge of securing funds for the purchase of the J. R. 
Patton home, which is now known as the Atlanta-Eminence Memorial 
Home. Now, after many years during which meetings were held in var- 
ious halls and in the churches, the Club meets in the Atlanta-Eminence 
Memorial Home. 

Through the years twenty-seven presidents have served the Club, 


each one doing her bit to make our community a better place in which 
to live. 

The present membership is almost one hundred and the Club dues 
are three dollars per year. 

The Atlanta Woman's Club cooperates with the Atlanta Junior Wom- 
an's Club to sponsor Girl Scouting in Atlanta. 

The Atlanta Woman's Club is affiliated with the General Federation, 
the Illinois Federation, the Seventeenth District Federation and the Logan 
County Federation of Women's Clubs. 

Miss Ida V. Hieronymus served as State Chairman of Indian Welfare 
for two years, 1947-1949. 

Those who have served as District Presidents are Mrs. A. B. Apple- 
gate and Miss Ida V. Hieronymus; and as County Presidents are Mrs. 
Charles Hayward, Mrs. J. R. Patton, Mrs. Maskel Lee and Mrs. Claude I. 
Miller. Mrs. Hayward was the first County President. 


On April 12, 1935 some of the young ladies of Atlanta met to organize 
a Junior Woman's Club. The meeting was held at the home of Mrs. J. R. 
Patton and all listened to an address by Mrs. Ralph Moratz of Blooming- 
ton on this movement. Miss Nancy Hoblit acted as chairman for the 
evening. Eleven of the thirteen present signed to join the Club. Then on 
April 18, 1935 the members of the newly organized Atlanta Junior 
Woman's Club met at the home of Mrs. Patton for election of officers. 
The following were elected: President, Mrs. Thelma Rush; Vice President, 
Miss Nancy Hoblit; Secretary-Treasurer, Miss Marian Hieronymus. This 
Club was sponsored by the Atlanta Woman's Club and had a membership 
of twenty. The first regular meeting was held at the home of Miss Nancy 
Hoblit and was of a social nature. Then on October 2, 1935 the group 
began holding their meetings in the Woman's Club rooms, which at that 
time were Woodman Hall, later the churches, with regularly arranged 

Despite difficulties the Club has continued to grow in numbers and 
interest and is now an active participant in many worthwhile projects 
of the community, among which is the co-sponsorship with the Atlanta 
Woman's Club, of the Atlanta Girl Scouts. 

The Club is affiliated with the General Federation, the Illinois Fed- 
eration, the Seventeenth District Federation and the Logan County Fed- 

Eleven presidents have served the Club which now has a membership 
of forty- three. 

Miss Charlotte Ann Bevan was District Junior Director during 1946- 
1947, Mrs. Pauline Pittenger during 1950-1951. 



The American Legion, Gresham-Crutchley Post No. 341 was organized 
in 1920. There were forty-seven charter members: Dr. George W. Brock, 
Commander; Allen Applegate, Orville Atteberry, W. R. Barr, Allen Becker, 
Letto F. Becker, Lorin J. Bennett, J. E. Botkin, J. L. Bradway, Loy S. 
Brandt, Wayne Brandt, Fred L. Cheek, Walter E. Cheek, Dean Clawson, 
R. E. Crihfield, Albert Dreher, R. W. Dunham, Mark Ellis, Clifton C. 
Ewing, W. C. Finfrock, Leslie Gresham, Jesse L. Griffin, Carl Hawes, 
Elbert Hieronymus, Merlin Huber, Kenneth E. James, Milton Kieszling, 
Owen McKevitt, James McKown, Dean Montgomery, Earl L. Mountjoy, 
Keith W. Murphy, James L. Oldaker, Clyde E. Pack, Arthur Pech, E. 
Blinn Ransdell, John Neil Rice, Paul A. Schmidt, David W. Sullivan, 
Harold Wagner, Harry H. Watt, Wendell Watt, Wayne H. Weber, C. O. 
Wedeberg, Charles Williams, Clarence Wilmert and Norven Zoffer. 

The Post was named for the two boys who lost their lives in World 
War I,Bert Gresham and Roy Crutchley. 

The Post first met in the rooms over the Kitchell grocery. In 1936 
it v/as decided to buy the home of the late T. N. Hamilton. Jesse Botkin 
was commander at this time. By volunteer labor of the members this 
home was soon converted into an adequate Legion Home. 

In 1947, after World War II, it was voted to sell this home and help 
buy the J. R. Patton house with the intention that it be made into a com- 
munity Memorial center. This center is known as the Atlanta-Eminence 
Community Memorial. It is a memorial to the soldiers of World Wars I 
and II. 

The Legion supports many community activities. Beginning in 1950 
the Legion has sponsored an annual Atlanta Homecoming. There are now 
165 members. 


The American Legion Auxiliary was organized November 14, 1930. 
The charter members were: President, Mrs. Laurinda Watt; 1st Vice- 
President, Mrs. Dessie Becker; 2nd Vice-President, Mrs. Annie Hayter; 
Secretary, Mrs. Ruth Crawford; Treasurer, Mrs. Mabel Clawson; Chap- 
lain, Mrs. May Griffin; Sergeant-at-Arms, Mrs. Leatha Ryan; Mrs. Wavie 
Botkin, Miss Maude Gehlbach, Mrs. Eliza Griffin, Mrs. Rhoda Hayter, 
Mrs. Katherine Johnson, Mrs. Anna Kearney, Mrs. Norma Kindred, Mrs. 
Jessie Kistner and Mrs. Mabel Myers Temple. 

The Legion rooms were in the K. of P. building across from the 
Public Library. Meetings were held the first and third Mondays of each 
month. The first meeting was a business meeting held in the evening. 
The second meeting in the month was a social meeting held in the home 
of one of the members in the afternoon. 

This Auxiliary Unit became inactive after a few years. 



The Gresham-Crutchley Unit 341 American Legion Auxiliary was 
organized Oct. 4, 1940. The Unit was named for Bert Gresham and Roy 
Franklin Crutchley both of whom lost their lives in World War I. 

The charter members were: President, Mrs. Grace Short; 1st Vice- 
President, Mrs. Ruth Schmidt; 2nd Vice-President, Mrs. Mary Patton; 
Secretary, Mrs. Mary Brandt; Treasurer, Mrs. Blanche Wiseman; His- 
torian, Mrs. Leatha Ryan; Chaplain, Mrs. Iva Horn; Mrs. Ruth Applegate, 
Miss Grace Baldwin, Mrs. Lena Baldwin, Mrs. Dessie Becker, Mrs. Georgia 
Blackwood, Mrs. Emma Borgelt, Mrs. Aileen Bradway, Mrs. Hazel Brandt, 
Mrs. Rena Compton, Mrs. Susie Crutchley, Mrs. Millie Dillon, Mrs. Eliza 
Griffin, Mrs. May Griffin, Mrs. Nellie Harkreader, Mrs. Hazel Huber, Mrs. 
Venus Lake, Mrs. Cora Mountjoy, Mrs. Rachel Perlman, Mrs. Stella Rein- 
hart, Mrs. Elizabeth Speciale, Mrs. Irma Tuttle, Mrs. Doris Usherwood, 
Mrs. Hazel Vogt and Mrs. Verda Wagner. 

The present membership is one hundred twenty-five. 

The Auxiliary contributes to the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Chil- 
drens School at Normal, the Veterans Hospitals at Dwight and Danville 
and to the Veterans at the Lincoln State School and Colony. 

Each year the Unit sends a girl to Ulini Girls State, gives a scholar- 
ship medal, based on courage, leadership, honor and scholarship, to an 
eighth grade girl, sponsors a poppy poster contest for school children and 
sponsors an Americanism essay contest for school children. 

Members who are Gold Star Mothers are Mrs. Roscoe Williams and 
Mrs. Louis Baker. 

Gold Star Mothers who have been members are Mrs. Minnie Young, 
Mrs. Nellie Brandt, Mrs. Blanche Williams, Mrs. Jessie Hubner, Mrs. 
Edward Purlee and Mrs. Susie Crutchley. 


The early settlers of Illinois found the prairies abounding in game of 
all kinds which afforded good meat for food and hides for clothing. 

Hunters and trappers came in large numbers to establish homes. They 
encountered many buffalo herds, also wolves, foxes, beavers and otters; 
also smaller game such as racoon, prairie chickens, wild turkeys, cotton 
tail rabbits and wild ducks and fish along the rivers. 


Gradually the land was cleared and eager Sportmen of the state who 
wished to exercise their skill with firearms formed clubs of various sorts. 

In 1927 Atlanta organized a Gun Club for the purpose of becoming 
skilled in trap shooting and marksmanship. Oran Atteberry was chosen 
president and J. A. Ash, secretary-treasurer. 

Then in September 1928 the Club was reorganized and became the 
Atlanta Sportsman's Club. This group was not very active until 1934. 
Several fox drives were held. 

In 1937 the Club organized as the Atlanta Chapter of the Logan 
County Sportmen's Club through the Lincoln Chapter and was also a 
member of the Illinois Federation. Its aim is bird rearing, feeding of 
game birds in winter, game cover and general hunting. 

The Club has grown to one hundred in membership and in 1947 took 
out its own Charter and is now working with the Conservation Depart- 
ment at Springfield to establish recreation centers, to improve game laws, 
to eliminate pollution of streams and to reclaim flood lands along the 
Illinois River. To Otis Hulva goes much of the credit for the continued 
activities of this Club. 


The Atlanta Rotary Club No. 4142 of District No. 215 was organized 
in February 1937 with Charter Night being Feb. 23rd, 1937, under the 
sponsorship of the Lincoln Rotary Club. 

Charter Night was attended by some 350 Rotarians, their wives and 
guests and was held in the High School Gym. 

Dr. R. Lynn Ijams was the first president, with Charlew Few, Vice 
President; Ernest Seelye, Secretary-Treasurer, and Haskell Montgomery. 
Sergeant at Arms. 

The Board of Directors consisted of the following members: R. L. 
Ijams, Richard Patton, J. M. Dowdy, J. A. Hoblit, P. A. Crihfield, Charles 
F. Few and L. E. Mason. 


Regular meetings were to be held at 12:15 each Wednesday at the 
Christian Church. 

There were 35 charter members and fourteen of the original Charter 
members are still active members and one is an honorary member. 

One member of the Club, J. M. Dowdy, has a record of perfect at- 
tendance. The Club is known throughout the present District as one of 
the top clubs in attendance. 

The Club has aided and sponsored numerous projects during its 
sixteen years as a service Club, but is best known for its sponsorship 
and work with the Boy Scouts of Atlanta. 

At present the Club alternates its noonday meetings between the 
Christian Church, the Methodist Church and the Atlanta-Eminence Com- 
munity building. 


In 1915 the first Boy Scout troop was organized by Rev. Robert H. 
Newton, pastor of the Christian Church. It was sponsored by the churches 
of Atlanta and the Scouts met in the basement of the new Christian 
Church. The boys in the troop raised funds by caring for lawns and gar- 
dens. Of the fifteen boys who formed the first troop only two now live 
in Atlanta. 

When the United States entered World War 1 some of the older boys 
enlisted. The spirit of Scouting lived, but for a time there was no regular 

On January 4, 1926 Troop 23 of Logan County Boy Scouts was or- 
ganized, with Allen Houser as Scoutmaster. It was sponsored by a group 
of interested citizens and the Scouts met in the Library basement. The 
boys formed their own band and played for local gatherings. 

June Crandall and Verne Riley were the troop's first Eagle Scouts. 
Conrad Miller was chosen to represent the Council at Culver Camp. The 
troop won many awards, among them a silver loving cup. 

After the Council acquired Camp Griesheim, Atlanta contributed and 
erected one of the cabins. 

At one time, during the period that J. B. Austin was Scoutmaster and 
Harold Haines assistant Scoutmaster there were six Eagle Scouts in the 
troop — Robert Applegate, Robert Crihfield, Thomas Hieronymus, Richard 
Howser, Bernard Twomey, Jr. and Carl Watt. The troop attended a 
Region 7 Camporee at Terre Haute, Indiana and came home with a blue 

The Atlanta Rotary Club has sponsored Boy Scouts in Atlanta con- 
tinuously since 1938 or '39. 

In 1943 the troop was reorganized by Scoutmaster Harold Haines and 
his assistants, Dick Gilbert, Dick Schmidt and Barrett W. Rogers. Mr. 


Haines was awarded the Scoutmaster's Key for length of service and out- 
standing qualities of leadership. Bob Ellis, one of the Scouts in the troop, 
had the pleasure of seeing his father, Judge William S. Ellis, one of the 
original incorporators of the Logan County Council, awarded the Silver 
Beaver on February 12, 1946. 

Three Scouts, Lynn Hieronymus, Allyn Ijams and Larry Johnson, 
received Eagle awards, January 26, 1950. Bob Ellis and Jim Dickerson 
went as delegates to the International Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley 
Forge, June 25, 1950. George Brock was Scoutmaster. 

The Atlanta Scouts are now Troop 123 of the Prairie Trails District 
of the Corn Belt Council Boy Scouts of America. They have their quar- 
ters on the second floor of the garage at the rear of the Community 
Building. The Troop Committee, the fathers and the Park District Board 
worked together to make these quarters a suitable meeting place. 


On October 21, 1936 the Parent Teacher Association voted to sponsor 
a Cub Scout program in Atlanta. The following committee was appointed: 
William S. Ellis, Joseph Billeter, Mrs. Madeline Watt and Mrs. Leska 

The first Cub Scout Pack was organized in November, 1936. A train- 
ing course in Cubbing was given by William S. Ellis. The Charter was 
received January 14, 1937. Mr. Ellis was the first Cubmaster; Thomas 
H. Tuttle was the first assistant. Members of the first Pack committee 
were G. H. Tuttle, Phillip McCullough and J. P. Billeter. Mrs. Maxey 
Sugg was the first Den Mother, and Robert Applegate and Carl Watt were 
the Den Chiefs. William S. Ellis, Jr. was the first Atlanta Cub to pass 
the Bobcat requirements. 

After a few years interest lagged and Cubbing was inactive until 1948. 
The Atlanta Cub Scout Pack No. 123 was organized April 24, 1948. The 
Charter was received May 15, 1948, at which time an Indian Ceremonial 
was presented by the Pack. The Couples Class of the Methodist Church 
has continuously sponsored this group. Edward Pittenger and Leland H. 
Dunham were the first institutional representatives; George Stunkard the 
first Cubmaster; Eldon Givens, the first Assistant Cubmaster. The Pack, 
consisting of twenty-one boys, was divided into three dens. Mrs. George 
Stunkard, Mrs. Edward Pittenger and Mrs. Homer Hamblin were Den 
Mothers; Robert M. Ellis, Lynn Hieronymus and Allyn Ijams were Den 
Chiefs. Dr. R. L. Ijams and Russell Daugherty, Scout Executive for the 
Prairie Trails District, were active in the establishment of this Pack. 

Weekly Den meetings are held for the boys in the homes of the Den 
Mothers and monthly meetings are held at the Atlanta-Eminence Memor- 
ial home for the parents and Cubs. The Cub program furnishes fun for 
the boys and guidance in developing character, skill and interests. It 
fulfills the need of boys for belonging to a "gang." 



The first step toward Girl Scouting in Atlanta was taken by the At- 
lanta Woman's Club. On Nov. 10, 1937 that organization voted to sponsor 
Girl Scouting in this community. The objectives of the Girl Scout organi- 
zation are: character building, creative recreation, responsible and demo- 
cratic citizenship, community service, world friendship, the development 
of skills and attitudes that build better human relationships, which, in 
turn, make happier homes in better communities. 

On Jan. 5, 1938 the president of the Woman's Club appointed the first 
Troop Committee as follows: Mrs. Arthur Applegate, Mrs. Frank Bevan, 
Mrs. Oran Brandt, Mrs. Roy Colaw and Mrs. Harold Wiseman. After 
several meetings of the Troop Committee, mothers, potential leaders and 
a National Staff representative, two "Lone Troops" were registered with 
the National Organization May 5, 1938. During the first year of Girl 
Scouting forty-four girls, ten to fourteen years of age, and eleven adults 
were registered. Miss Emma Wiggers, Miss Esther Voile, Miss Mildred 
Kurth and Miss Pauline Lundgren were among the first of the Girl Scout 

The Atlanta Junior Woman's Club, soon after it was organized, voted 
to cooperate with the Atlanta Woman's Club in sponsoring the Girl Scouts. 
Mrs. Robert McKown and Mrs. Robert Wertheim, serving during the year 
1940-41, were the first Girl Scout Committee. 

Girl Scouting continued active, having an average registration of 
thirty-three girls and nine adults, until May of 1943 when there were no 
leaders available. 

In March 1946 Mrs. Elton Fuller, Mrs. Sam Ewing and Mrs. Darrell 
Rankin volunteered to serve as leaders and Girl Scouting was revived. 
Twenty-nine girls, ages eleven, twelve and thirteen, and six adults were 

In March, 1947 the first Brownie troop was organized in Atlanta. 
Twenty-two girls, ages seven, eight and nine, and five adults were regis- 
tered. Mrs. Harold Gilbert and Mrs. Cecil French were leaders. 

In January, 1947 the troops in Atlanta ceased to be "Lone Troops" 
when the Atlanta Girl Scout Association was formed as part of the Logan 
County Council. Mrs. Paul Schmidt was chairman and Mrs. Eldon Givens, 
vice-chairman of the new organization. 

Mrs. Paul Schmidt has served as president of the Logan County Girl 
Scout Board of Directors and Mrs. R. L. Ijams has served as program 
chairman of the Logan County Council; Mrs. Arthur Applegate has served 
as a member of the program committee; Mrs. Elton Fuller has served as 
chairman of the County Membership-Nominating Committee; Mrs. Eldon 
Givens has served as a member of the County Staff and Office Committee. 

In February, 1948 the Girl Scouts were assigned a room in the At- 
lanta-Eminence Memorial Home and in April the mothers and fathers of 
the girls furnished and decorated it, making it a most attractive meeting 
place. The Girl Scouts helped with a general money making project for 
the benefit of the Memorial Home fund. 

With the advantages of better training for leaders and a wider scope 


of program activities which were a result of Council membership, the 
scouting standards of both girls and adults have steadily risen. 

In September, 1950 the first Senior Scout troop was organized. Mrs. 
D. A. Hofer and Mrs. Merle Liesman were leaders. Fourteen girls, ages 
fourteen to eighteen, and five adults were registered. 

Joyce Bateman, Virginia Bateman, Dorothy Dyer, Barbara Gilbert, 
Sally Givens, Joyce Ijams, Lynd Wertheim and Hannah Ijams have earned 
and have awarded the Curved Bar. 

At present there are eighty-four girls and thirty-three adults regis- 


The Logan County Farm Bureau was organized Dec. 5, 1917 with 
approximately 300 charter members. Murrel Miller was elected to the 
first executive board. Mr. E. T. Ebersol, first Farm Adviser, was em- 
ployed February 1, 1918. In January, 1922 the Farm Bureau "Reflector," 
issued monthly was first published. Its purpose is to keep members in- 
formed on all activities of the organization. 

Among the services offered by the Farm Bureau are: assistance in 
the formation of co-operative and pure bred livestock associations, pro- 
curing high quality seed, sponsoring a baseball team and 4-H Clubs, 
maintaining a farm help bureau, a soil testing laboratory and a producer's 
market, making available information on insect and parasite control and 
offering all branches of insurance through the insurance department. 

Atlanta Community was represented at the Producer's Market by 
Mrs. Fred Zollars, Mrs. James L. Bradway, Mrs. F. L. Sumner and Mrs. 
Dean A. Hoblit, whose culinary offerings were always in great demand. 

Since 1943 many families have been enrolled in the Blue Cross Plan 
for hospital care through the Farm Bureau. 

The County Rural Youth, sponsored by the Farm Bureau, is very 
active. Richard Applegate was one of the first presidents of this group. 

On October 21, 1947, the Logan Farm Service Company was organ- 
ized and now has service stations in several Logan County towns. J. 
Hardin Ellis represents the Atlanta territory on this board. 

In the fall of 1938 the Logan County Co-operative Food Locker was 
formed. In 1945 they purchased the My rick plant in Atlanta which they 
operated until the present new building was completed. E. L. Hughes 
has been a director on the board from this vicinity since 1943. 

The artificial semination program was started in the fall of 1949. 

Both the Agricultural and Home Economic 4-H Clubs were sponsored 
by the Farm Bureau until 1946 when the present Home Bureau was or- 
ganized and became the sponsor for the Home Economic Clubs. Much 
credit is due Mr. Oscar F. Mountjoy and Mr. J. A. Hoblit, Sr. for the first 
corn and beef 4-H clubs in this area. The farm girls and boys of the 
community have shown a great deal of interest in these projects and have 
won some important awards. Among the State corn award winners were: 
Arthur Miller, highest yielding acre plot; Julia Irish, Corn Princess Utility 
Corn Show; John A. Hoblit, Jr., Corn Prince Utility Corn Show and 
Joseph B. Mountjoy, Corn Prince Utility Corn Show. 


Frank D. Hoblit and Carolyn Mountjoy received blue ribbons in the 
County Calf Club show. 

A large number of the Club members have received top awards at 
the County Fair. 

John T. Brandt won the 4-H Championship on sheep at the Interna- 
tional Show; Robert M. Ellis, first place State Sheep Production; Lyle 
Miller, first place State Dairy Judging and Walter Rankin, first place 
State Dairy Heifer. 

In 1948 John W. Horn received the medal from the Lincoln Kiwanis 
Club, an award given annually to the outstanding 4-H Club boy or girl in 
the County. 


On April 20, 1918 Atlanta was represented at a meeting of the Logan 
County Committee of Women's Council of National Defense at Lincoln 
to discuss the need for a leader of an organization which would render 
a greater service to the war emergency work. Under the direction of 
this leader, or Women's County Adviser, conservation of food, uses of 
substitutes in a balanced ration, conservation of health and child welfare 
would be taught. Speakers from the extension department of the U. of 
Illinois appeared before various women's groups to demonstrate the use 
of substitutes. 

The Atlanta Women's Council of National Defense, registered Nov. 
1917, met at the school house June 14, 1918 and the Atlanta Unit of the 
Logan County Home Improvement Association was organized. Mrs. A. 
B. Applegate was elected Chairman and Mrs. Maskel Lee, Secretary. Mrs. 
A. B. Applegate was selected as temporary representative on the county 
board with Mrs. A. P. Miller as alternate. 

On June 28, 1918 at a meeting in Lincoln of the chairmen of all dis- 
tricts of the Logan County Home Improvement Association, the first 
Logan County Home Bureau was organized. Mrs. A. B. Applegate was 


appointed to serve on the committee to secure a Home Adviser. Miss 
Lena Corzine was the first Home Adviser and began her work October 
15, 1918. The following members of the Atlanta Unit served on the county 
board: Mrs. A. B. Applegate, Mrs. Bert McKinnon and Mrs. J. R. Patton. 
Mrs. John A. Hoblit and Mrs. Herman Hahn were unit representatives. 

The Atlanta Unit met the third Friday of each month. The meetings 
were held in the Atlanta Library, the school house, the Baptist Church and 
in the homes of members. Production, preservation and nutrition of foods, 
improvement of home furnishings to promote happier family living, health, 
clothing construction and household accounts were some of the projects. 

On October 15, 1920 a tour of the model home of Mrs. H. M. Dunlap 
at Savoy, Illinois was made by members of the Home Bureau; four cars 
of women representing the Atlanta Unit attended. Mrs. John A. Hoblit 
was County Tour Chairman. 

Members of the Atlanta Unit served as hostesses at the Home Bureau 
tent maintained at the Lincoln Chautauqua for the convenience of Logan 
County Home Bureau members attending Chautauqua during the summer 
of 1921. The dues of $2.00 were raised to $3.00 in 1921. 

The response to the efforts of local leaders, the Home Adviser and 
the U. of Illinois extension service was not great enough to make possible 
the continuation of the organization after the year 1922. 

A group of women representing the townships of the county met Jan. 
29, 1946 to discuss the possibility of organizing a Home Bureau. On April 
23, 1946 the Logan County Home Bureau was organized with 540 mem- 
bers. It was incorporated in July, 1946. Mrs. Harold O. Quisenberry 
represented the Atlanta and Eminence Units as director on the first Exec- 
utive Board of the Logan County Home Bureau. Mrs. Mabel Albrecht 
has served continuously as Home Adviser. The Atlanta Unit was organ- 
ized July 16, 1946. Mrs. Frank Bevan was elected chairman; Mrs. DeWitt 
Yeast, vice chairman and Mrs. Howard Hieronymus, secretary-treasurer. 
There were 80 active and 10 associate members. The membership dues 
were $5.00. 

The aim of the Home Bureau is — -"To have every home economically 
sound, mechanically convenient, morally wholesome, mentally stimulat- 
ing, artistically satisfying, physically healthful, socially responsible, spirit- 
ually inspiring, founded on mutual affection and respect." 


Meetings were first held in Woodman Hall, later in the Agriculture 
room at the school house. On December 18, 1947 the new Atlanta-Emi- 
nence Memorial Home became the regular meeting place. 

Lesson projects have included home furnishings, family living, foods 
and nutrition, home management, health, clothing and child guidance and 
hand craft. Included in hand craft were glove making, leather tooling, 
metal craft, textile painting, chair caning, shell craft, decorative stitches 
and rug making. 

The County organization has sponsored several tours, among them a 
tour of New Orleans, La. and Natchez, Miss, in 1947; tours of Holland, 
Mich, at tulip time in 1947 and 1949; tours of Washington, D. C. in 1947 
and 1950. The Atlanta Unit co-operates each year in conducting T. B. 
X-rays and contributes to the Cancer and Polio funds. 

A "Breakfast in Hollywood" was held Jan. 11, 1947 in the High School 
gymnasium as a money making project. A large crowd attended and 
enjoyed Tommy Bartlett's program and the hat contest. 

In May, 1929 the first Atlanta Home Economics 4-H Club was organ- 
ized, with Mrs. O. F. Mountjoy, leader. Twenty-four girls, ages ten 
through seventeen, were enrolled as members. Meetings were held in the 
Atlanta school hous and in the Hoblit rural school. The following girls 
were delegates to the State Contest: Carolyn Mountjoy and Julia Irish, 
dress revue delegates; Nadine Heft and Irma Brandt, delegates for the 
judging of clothing. Helen Paulsen was a Foods Project delegate to the 
State Fair. 

After five years of successful work the Club became inactive and 
there were no 4-H Economic Clubs until the organization of the Logan 
County Home Bureau in 1946. 

When the local unit of the Home Bureau first organized it sponsored 
three 4-H Clubs. Mrs. Arthur Begolka, Mrs. William Turner and Mrs. 
DeWitt Yeast were leaders. Mrs. Yeast is a present member of the 
County 4-H Committee. Sixty-five girls have been active in 4-H work 
during the past six years. Dixie Lee Baker was a delegate for dress 
revue from Logan County to the State Fair in 1951; Rosemary Bruce 
entered her dress to be judged for clothing construction at the State Fair 
in 1952; Lynd Wertheim attended 4-H camp in Petersburg in 1947- Alice 
Begolka served on the County 4-H Federation Board in 1949. 

Following is the pledge of the 4-H Club— "I pledge my head to 
clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, 
my health to better living, for my club, my community and my country." 





Otto Schneider, one of Atlanta's early residents, studied and "drew 
pictures" in Atlanta's school; and later rose to the top in his chosen pro- 
fession as a dry-point etcher. 

After studying abroad, he settled in Chicago, where he established his 
own portrait studio and did work for the Chicago newspapers and the 
"Roycrofters" of East Aurora, N. Y. 

An appreciation of his work, by Booth Tarkington, appears in the 
October, 1905 issue of the "Metropolitan Magazine," now on file at the 
Public Library; and a signed sample of his etchings may be seen at the 
home of Harry Tuttle. 


One of Atlanta's pioneer business men was A. E. Church who estab- 
lished a furniture store in 1857. 

Being a cabinet maker it fell to his lot, as was customary in those 
days, to make "coffins" upon request. These were of walnut lumber and 
varnished, or of pine and covered with black velvet. 

As none were "carried in stock," each one was "made to measure" 
and he often worked all night, with someone holding a lamp for him. 

No other service was rendered by him then — not even a hearse. 
Neighbors would bathe and dress the body; if a minister was available 
he would give the funeral sermon and the coffin would be taken to the 
cemetery in a "lumber wagon" and lowered by lines taken from one of 
the sets of harness into a grave opened by friends. 

The cemeteries were not far away, many of them being started as 
private burial plots by families in the vicinity. After a hearse was bought 
for local use it visited more than twenty-two cemeteries. 

When partial embalming came into use the necessary instruments 
were carried into the home in a small wooden box with a hinged cover. 
The embalming fluid was carried in a demijohn. (Long after arterial 
embalmment came into practice, all the necessary equipment was taken 
into the home, where the preparation of the body was done, almost with- 
out exception, until the first Funeral Home was established in Atlanta 
in 1928.) 

Of the 170 "coffins" he furnished in 1865, ninety-nine were for chil- 
dren and babies! In 1850 a child, at birth, had a life expectancy of only 
thirty-nine years. Today the life expectancy is sixty-seven years. 


The Tuttle family came from Xenia, Ohio to Logan County, Illinois 

in 1840, and engaged in farming, brick making and sawing hardwood 

lumber before the Chicago and Alton Railroad was built or Atlanta 

"Uncle Jimmy" Tuttle used to drive hogs to Pekin, Illinois. On one 
such occasion he had some of the silver dollars he received in payment 
for the pigs melted and cast into spoons. Some of these spoons are still 
in the possession of his descendants. 


The first school attended by his son "D" was at Roach's Chapel near 
the Roach Cemetery. The Chapel served as the community building and 
was the scene of many entertainments and spelling bees, which were 
probably enjoyed as much as our present day Movies, and at a very small 
fraction of the cost. Roach's Chapel is no longer standing. 


According to the memoirs of the late John Strong, the friendship of 
his father, Sylvester Strong, with Abraham Lincoln was one of the most 
significant of his memories. He mentioned especially the presentation of 
the cane to Lincoln at the Fourth of July celebration in 1859. 

John Strong's first earnings were for plowing corn for his uncles with 
a yoke of oxen and a home-made plow at a "bit" (12^ cents) a day! At 
that time letter postage was 25c — paid at the post-office upon receipt of 
the letter, as there were no postage stamps until 1846 and letters were often 
sent by friends who happened to be travelling to their destination. Wool 
from their own sheep was taken to Bloomington for carding, and then made 
into thread on the hand spinning-wheels then in universal use, after which 
it was knitted into mittens, stockings, etc., or woven into cloth on their 
own hand looms for making into clothing. 

In those days it took the combined efforts of the whole family to 
provide food, fuel, clothing, candles, soap and all the other necessities of 


Church's Band, of Atlanta, was organized about 1903 by George L. 
Church, popular Undertaker and Furniture Dealer of Atlanta. 

The members were boys of High School age and several of the older 
musicians who had former band experience with some of the earlier bands 
of Atlanta. 

They held regular rehearsals and were soon playing engagements for 
the community. Each summer they played a series of concerts on the 
"Square" in Atlanta, which were partly supported by free-will contribu- 
tions of the local merchants. They also played for picnics, political ral- 
lies, church suppers and many other community affairs. 

For many years the band secured money for expenses from the pro- 
ceeds of the annual "Church's Minstrel Show," which always filled "Mur- 
phy's Hall" to overflowing. 

The Atlanta Fair was one of the main attractions for which the band 
always played. They were usually "reinforced" by two or three "outside" 
players; and also, for a number of years, by members of the Calahan 
Dramatic Company band. This troupe played annual "Fair Week" en- 
gagements at "Murphy's Hall" and always had a good band with them. 

Church's Band was not only an integral part of this community, but 
was well known in surrounding towns; and played many engagements in 
Armington, Emden, Hartsburg, Lincoln, McLean and Waynesville. 


The Band carried on for many years, until "Churchie's" sudden 
death in 1924, after which the band library of music and some of the 
instruments, which the band owned were given to the Atlanta School 

Church's Band About 1915 

Left to Right: Mark Ellis, Harry Merry, Joe Ash, Glenn Towne, Clif- 
ford Hawes, Joe King, Wilbur Hawes, Henshaw, Harry Coons, 

Murrel Miller, Charlie Lake, Cecil Goose, Clarence Wilmert, Charlie Gip- 
son, Barrett Rogers, Merlin Dowdy, Dean Judy, Albert Dreher, Rolla 

Williams, Wendell Watt, Louie Thompson, George Church, Corbin, 

Grant Kinsey, Harry Dreher, Paul Schmidt, Scott, Gus Adams, 

Harry Watt, Harold Kearney. 



Many who stillremember the shrill fire alarm of the steam whistle 
at the waterworks plant will read with interest the following description 
published in the Atlanta Argus in the issue of April 10, 1896: "The City 
Council has placed a fire alarm on the waterworks that is a holy terror. 
It carries calamity in its voice, which is a combination of the war whoop 
of a Comanche Indian and the dying wail of a stuck pig. It is to be hoped 
that there will be little necessity for its use." 


Atlanta had visions of a major industry, when in 1867 a company 
was formed for the purpose of sinking a coal shaft. The boring for coal 
began Nov. 26 of that year and a good vein of coal was reached at a 
depth of 245 feet. Owing, however, to the great difficulty experienced in 
keeping out the water of the underground lake, the project, after repeated 
efforts, was abandoned. 


The Fourth of July riot of 1889 is one of the unpleasant affairs in 
Atlanta's history. A baseball game, near the Atlanta Fair grounds, broke 
up in a heated argument and later, when the crowds returned to town, 
rioting began on the city square. The adherents of Atlanta and Lincoln 
fought an all sides of the square, and tragedy was averted only when the 
revolver of policeman Henry Dillon failed to function when he pulled the 
trigger while he had it pointed at one of the rioters. The disturbance 
subsided when the evening train came in and Lincoln people boarded it 
to return home. 



Abranam Lincoln and Atlanta 7 

Agriculture ___-. 

American Legion, The 72 

American Legion Auxiliary, The 72 

Atlanta Is Founded 3 

Banking in Atlanta 31 

Bicycle Age, The 18 

7 n > 
Boy Scouts to 

Cemetery, The Atlanta ™ 

Churches 50 

Electric Lights - 63 

Fair, The Atlanta _ . 37 

Farm Bureau and 4-H Club 78 

Fire Department, The Atlanta 62 

Fires in Atlanta 21 

Girl Scouts 77 

Home Bureau and 4-H Club 79 

Horseless Carriage, The 20 

Hotels in Atlanta 28 

Hotel, The Old, a Poem 29 

Library, The Atlanta Public 34 

Lodges and Other Organizations 23 

Memorial, The Atlanta-Eminence Community 67 

Murphy Hall 60 

New Castle 3 

Park, Atlanta Public 69 

Park District, Atlanta Memorial 67 

Press, The . 22 

Railroads Serving Atlanta 17 

Red Cross 64 

Reminiscences 83 

Rotary Club, The Atlanta 74 

Rural Free Delivery 64 

Schools, Atlanta 43 

Sportsmen's Club, The Atlanta 74 

Telephone, The 63 

Transportation 17 

Woman's Club, The Atlanta 70 

Woman's Club, The Atlanta Junior 71 



Abraham Lincoln 9 

Amphitheater, Fair Grounds 39 

Atlanta, As It Is Today 82 

Atlanta-Eminence Memorial Building 67 

Atlanta's First Hotel 29 

Atlanta House, The 30 

Atlanta About 1898 89 

Baptist Church, The 50 

Bicycle, the High Wheel 19 

Campaign Banner of 1860 12 

Christian Church, The Old __. 52 

Christian Church, The Present 53 

Church's Band 85 

Coleman House, The 30 

Congregational Church, The 54 

Cumberland Presbyterian Church, The 55 

Gill, Richard T. 4 

Gill, Richard T., Residence of 6 

Hoblit Bank, The 32 

Library, The Atlanta Public 35 

Log Cabin at the Fair Grounds 41 

Methodist Church, The Old 56 

Methodist Church, The Present 57 

Murphy Hall 61 

St. Mary's Church 59 

School House, The Old 44 

School House, The Present . . 45 


A Panoramic V